Andy Dalton: After a terrible performance Monday night, Dalton bounced back in a big way against the Bears. He went 6-for-6 for 52 yards to go with three rushes for 16 yards and a one-yard QB sneak on 4th-and-goal to give the Bengals a 7-0 lead on their first drive.
Dalton was very sharp, and is now 11-for-11 with 83 yards with four rushes for 22 yards and two total scores in two preseason games at Paul Brown Stadium. With so many weapons at his disposal, Dalton looks poised for a big 2015 season. Dalton did leave the game with a neck injury, but it's said to just have been precautionary.
Rex Burkhead: As mentioned above, the Bengals are loaded with pass-catchers, and Burkhead finally had a nice showing in a preseason game after lighting it up in training camp. Burkhead opened with the starting offense and caught two passes for 35-yards on Cincinnati's opening TD drive. He's now put himself in a position to be active for every game day and be a significant part of the passing game.
Not bad for a third-string running back, though it's probably time to stop calling Burkhead 'just' a back. The Bengals should just go ahead and list him as an offensive weapon.
Andre Smith: After missing his first two preseason games with a foot injury, Smith made his 2015 debut against the Bears as the starting right tackle. He didn't disappoint as he made several good run blocks while also holding up nicely in pass protection. There's no question Smith is still the guy on the right side, even though Cincinnati spent two high draft picks on offensive tackles this year.
Carter has all but locked up his spot on the final roster. This isn't like one of Dontay Moch's big preseasons that always led to him being cut anyhow. Carter legitimately looks like someone who can play significant snaps and make a positive impact on the defense this year.
AJ McCarron: Because Dalton left with a neck injury in the first quarter, McCarron got a lot of unexpected run with the starters, and he did not disappoint. McCarron completed his first eight passes, including a 6-for-6 first half with two touchdown drives, one of which being a 31-yard score to Marvin Jones:
McCarron looked not only like a player who clearly belongs in the NFL, but maybe someone who could be starting one day...
Marvin Jones: As shown above, Jones had his first score of the preseason when he caught what was about an 18-yard pass and then picked up 13 more yards before powering into the endzone for the score. He doesn't look like a guy who missed all of 2014 any more, and he'll provide a big upgrade to the passing game this year.
Jeremy Hill: The Bengals ground game had a nice bounce back against the Bears thanks to a big day from Hill. He gashed Chicago for 46-yards and a score on 11 carries, including a 26-yard run. He looks every bit like the back that lead the NFL in rushing during the final two months last year.
Vinny Rey: The Bengals' defense was swarming from beginning to end in this one, and Rey played a big part in the starting defense keeping Chicago off the scoreboard. He moved from sideline-to-sideline very well while making a team-high six tackles (3 solo). With Vontaze Burfict likely sidelined for the first half of this season, Vinny will once again play a major role in the defense, and he looks ready for it.
Russell Bodine: this is a culmination of the preseason in general for Bodine, who doesn't look like he's improved at all since starting every game at center as a rookie. He was repeatedly pushed backward and lost leverage against his man in this game which led to several runs for little or no gain.
Jake Fisher: The second-round rookie from Oregon did not have a good NFL debut. He was flagged several times for lining up too far back, which negated two big gains. He also didn't look effective in pass protection as he surrounded several QB pressures. It wasn't too bad for a rookie making his pro debut, but he didn't exactly look like someone anywhere close to being ready for a significant role in the offense.
Matt O'Donnell: The backup tackle was in the mix for a spot on the 53-man roster as a backup tackle after a decent showing in training camp, but he's been a wreck now for two straight preseason games. He had a -2.2 Pro Football Focus score Monday night after allowing two QB hurries and a QB hit, and he allowed several more shots on Bengals' QBs vs the Bears. Don't expect to see O'Donnell on the final roster.
Jay Gruden: We have to give the former Bengals OC a shout-out for getting ripped on national TV by John Harbaugh during the Redskins' preseason game vs Baltimore. Hey, maybe the Bengals can bring him back on as an offensive assistant next year when he's not coaching in Washington anymore.