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Preseason Week 3 Bengals vs Bears: Pro Football Focus grades and analysis

The Bengals defeated the Chicago Bears 21-10 in their preseason Week 3 "dress rehearsal" game. Pro Football Focus released their grades for the Bengals performance, and we analyzed them.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

After a bad performance against the Buccaneers in Week 2 of the preseason, the Bengals came out strong in the third week of the preseason to deal the Bears a convincing loss. Although the final score was 21-10, the score was 21-3 after the first and second teams went off the field, resulting in quite a few important names leaving a great impression on the Pro Football Focus graders.

The Bengals' offense had a great showing against the Bears, resulting in quite a few players receiving positive overall grades. Some of the best were AJ McCarron (+2.1), Clint Boling (+1.9), Andy Dalton (+1.8), Eric Winston (+1.7), Giovani Bernard (+1.3), Terrell Watson (+1.2) and Marvin Jones (+1.0).

The defense received some good grades as well, some of their best including Vincent Rey (+2.1), Marcus Hardison (+1.3), Geno Atkins (+0.9), Chris Carter(+0.8), George Iloka (+0.8), Reggie Nelson (+0.8), DeShawn Williams (+0.8), and Paul Dawson (+0.7).

Here are the further breakdowns and some analysis:


  • Quarterbacks Andy Dalton (+1.8) and AJ McCarron (+2.1) received some of the best grades on the team, after combining for 188 yards, one touchdown, and a 78 percent completion rating. McCarron received a particularly good score in the passing game (+3.1) but his poor performance on the ground (-1.1) hampered his overall score.
  • Both quarterbacks improved from poor grades last week (-0.7 for Dalton and -1.2 for McCarron).

  • McCarron's improvement is encouraging, but he still struggled to avoid the pass rush. McCarron was responsible for his own sack last week, and was a contributing factor in at least one QB hurry situation this week.

  • Bengals receivers were generally graded on the low end, with the exception of Marvin Jones (+1.0). Jones caught both of his targets for a total of 35-yards and a touchdown. One of Jones' two targets was a 31-yard reception.


  • Giovani Bernard was the team's highest rated running back (+1.3) despite contributing very little to the ground game (three rushes for six yards). Terrell Watson also had a high overall grade (+1.2) but was much more effective in the ground game (nine carries for 41-yards).
  • Jeremy Hill received a decent overall score (+0.6), but was more effective as a runner (+0.7) than as a receiver (-0.1), totaling 11 carries for 46-yards and a touchdown.

  • Ryan Hewitt turned in a generally poor performance in PFF's view, against the Bears (-0.2), but he vastly outperformed his counterpart Mark Weisman (-1.1). Weisman struggled to put together any sort of effective blocking for the running game (graded -1.1 in run blocking), whereas Hewitt scored low but not particularly poorly (-0.1).


  • Clint Boling (+1.9) and Eric Winston (+1.7) both improved significantly from poor overall grades last week (Boling -1.1 Winston -0.7).
  • The offensive line generally kept Dalton away from pressure while he was on the field (no sacks, two QB hurries). McCarron, on the other hand, was under pressure virtually the entire time he was on the field (two sacks, nine QB hurries).

  • Of the starting offensive linemen, only Andre Smith received an overall score worse than -1.0 for his efforts on the field against the Bears (-1.2). However, many second and third team offensive linemen struggled, such as Trey Hopkins (-1.2),Tanner Hawkinson (-1.8), Matt O'Donnell (-2.3), Dan France (-2.5), and Jake Fisher (-9.0).

  • Rookie offensive tackle Jake Fisher's awful score (-9.0) was a result of being directly responsible for allowing McCarron to be hurried three times and sacked twice. It didn't help that he was also responsible for three penalties.

  • Russell Bodine's poor offseason showing continued against the Bears (-1.0), leading to speculation that his seat is getting hotter and hotter. Backup center T.J. Johnson also did not receive a good score (-0.3) but reserve center Jake Smith did (+0.3).


  • Most defensive players received fairly middle-of-the-pack grades against the Bears, other than Vincent Rey (+2.1), Marcus Hardison (+1.3) and Marquis Flowers (-1.3).
  • Geno Atkins did not put together the dominant performance that we have seen from him at other times this offseason, but he did receive a positive grade (+0.9), largely due to avoiding penalties and hurrying the opposing quarterback twice. He also assisted in the creation of others' plays.

  • Marquis Flowers received the only particularly bad score on defense (-1.3) as a result of poor pass coverage and the inability to create or assist in any tackles or stops, missing the only real tackling opportunity that he had.

  • The Bengals' pass rush was graded very well against the Bears (+5.6) largely due to Carlos Dunlap's ability to create havoc in the backfield. Dunlap received a pass rush grade of (+1.2). However, only Dunlap and LB Chris Carter were able to generate sacks.

  • Third round pick P.J.. Dawson continued to show why the Bengals drafted him by putting together three tackles and two stops on the field, receiving a positive overall grade of (+0.7).

  • Only strong safety George Iloka received a particularly good score in pass coverage (+1.3). Iloka did not record any deflected passes or interceptions, but was instrumental in not allowing the Bears' receivers to get open deep, resulting in a hard day for Bears' QB Jay Cutler.

  • For the second week in a row, the only starting cornerback for the Bengals to receive a positive overall grade was Dre Kirkpatrick (+0.1). Backup corners Troy Hill (+0.1) and Chris Lewis-Harris (+0.1) also received positive grades, but all other cornerbacks on the roster received negative grades.