Well, we watched real NFL football for the first time since the Bengals fell to the Steelers in the Wild Card round of last season’s playoffs. All eyes were watching how the new Bengals would perform in their first NFL action. We wanted to see how certain position battles were going to play out and who was going to step up at receiver for Cincinnati.
Personally, I wanted to see how Andy Dalton and the starters played to open the game. I know this is the preseason, and we are only going to see vanilla play calling, but a dominant performance would be a boost to people wondering how Dalton would return after the unfortunate thumb injury which ended his breakout 2015 season. We really didn’t need to rekindle the AJ McCarron lovefest and stir up ideas that McCarron should be a starter, which some people still think makes sense.
The offense dominated the entire first quarter. So much so that Minnesota had only three offensive plays the whole quarter. That stat alone makes me excited for this offense. Remember, just the other day, we talked about how poorly the offense was in practice? This was a great sign to see the success they showed tonight.
Andy Dalton only played one series, but of his five passes thrown, he only missed on one. The Bengals knew the Vikings were going to bring pressure and they countered that with quick passes and timing. It was exactly what they needed to do to move the ball.
Then there was the defense. To me, it was like watching a Star Wars trailer. I was excited to see the entire movie. In the three plays we watched, Geno Atkins was a beast. The pressure on the Vikings’ first play forced Teddy Bridgewater to back peddle about 12 yards before settling for a long three-yard gain. Any other quarterback and Atkins probably completes the sack. We didn’t have to wait long to see him get a sack as that is exactly what happened on the next play. On third down, Bridgewater was forced to throw the ball far too early and it fell incomplete with no real chance at a completion. This was due to pressure from Carlos Dunlap.
There will be much discussion about the second, third and fourth string players, but what I saw from the Bengals number ones made me excited.