Following the Bengals' Week 2 preseason game against the Buccaneers, here's a look at our picks for the five best plays to come out of the game. While it was a poor effort by the team as a whole, there were some great plays made by several Bengals, which deserve to be highlighted; here they are.
4) DeShawn Williams & Marcus Hardison a force in the middle
The Bengals spent a fourth-round pick on Marcus Hardison in this year['s draft in hopes he could give the Bengals an upgrade at defensive tackle. They appear to have received that from him and undrafted free agent DeShawn Williams, who has looked like the best defensive tackle not named Geno.
Speaking of, Williams looked Geno-esque on this play where he got to the edge and tackled Mike James for a small gain, but it was Hardison blowing by the center to force James to the outside that led to Williams getting the stop:
Hardison too quick for the center https://t.co/2qQYEqUx7m— Ryan Patrick (@RoyleRedlegs) August 25, 2015
Williams had another play where started in the middle but got to the outside to stuff James for no gain:
DeShawn Williams nice run-stop. Probably didn't help sneaking him onto PS when Gruden compared him to Geno ... https://t.co/ERjbdr7da1— Brennen Warner (@BrennenWarner) August 25, 2015
Seeing those two playing so well together was a great sight for Bengals fans
3) Chris Carter a force off the edge
Bengals linebacker/defensive end Chris Carter continued his ascension with a great performance against the Bucs. After having a great training camp, Carter had several plays vs the Bucs in which he either sacked or pressured the QB. He had 1.5 sacks in the third quarter, and on both occasions, blew past his guy with relative ease to take down the QB:
Chris Carter bending around the tight end with speed. Had been winning consistently with this rush in camp https://t.co/Khb7YM8TX0— Brennen Warner (@BrennenWarner) August 25, 2015
Chris Carter beats a tight end again with outside rush. Dips left arm under, keep bending towards QB https://t.co/dmIHMJYaqP— Brennen Warner (@BrennenWarner) August 25, 2015
Carter finished the game with 1.5 sacks, two QB Hits and a tackle-for-loss to go with significantly increased chances he's on the Bengals' final 53-man roster as he battles for one of the final linebacker spots.
2) P.J. Dawson stuffs Bucs at goal line
After a good showing in training camp, third-round rookie P.J. Dawson had his breakout game vs the Bucs as he lived in their backfield for much of the time he was in the game. On this play, Dawson knives into the backfield for a stop on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line:
1) Geno's back-to-back pressures
Geno Atkins is back, and we were reminded of that for the second-straight week. After flashing throughout training camp, Atkins looked like the old Geno we all know and love in Week 1 vs the Giants, and he erupted vs the Bucs Monday night.
His two best plays came back-to-back with the Bucs in the red zone threatening to take a two-score lead. On the first play, Geno blew by Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins to combine with Wallace Gilberry for the sack on Jameis Winston:
Geno Atkins pressure forces Winston to back up into Gilberry for a combined sack https://t.co/sx5bzfJDoH— Brennen Warner (@BrennenWarner) August 25, 2015
On the very next play, Atkins once again blew by Mankins to force Winston into a bad throw that was ruled intentional grounding:
Geno Atkins again. Tossing Mankins aside easily https://t.co/siyEiufDXC— Brennen Warner (@BrennenWarner) August 25, 2015
In those two plays, Atkins pushed Tampa's offense from the red zone to be out of field goal range. That's the kind of impact he's capable of now that he's fully healthy once again. In a game that was full of lowlights, Atkins' performance was a very positive highlight.