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Marvin Lewis pleased after Bengals’ win over Lions

The offense kept control while the defense looked to be in its 2015 form. Those are both good signs from a Bengals team that’s experienced some change this offseason.

NFL: Preseason-Cincinnati Bengals at Detroit Lions Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

One thing that stood out on Thursday night in the Bengals’ win over the Lions was the zero turnovers caused by the Bengals’ offense. Whether it was Andy Dalton, AJ McCarron or Keith Wenning under center, there were no interceptions thrown and no fumbles.

There was a close call with Rex Burkhead who nearly fumbled the ball, but he was ruled down by contact and after the Lions’ challenged the call, it was upheld.

“You know, I was pretty confident because I felt the guy kind of touch me when I was going down, so I kind of knew, but you never know,” Burkhead said of the near-fumble. “You don’t want to leave it in the officials’ hands and you don’t want any excuses, so just hold onto the ball.”

Part of the way last season ended was with a fumble and the referee’s decision to rule it as such after some speculation. Because of that, the Bengals have learned their lesson the hard way and the team doesn’t want to leave anything in the refs’ hands that doesn’t need to be left for them to decide. The Bengals need to take care of the ball and Marvin Lewis knows that. After the Bengals’ dominating win, Lewis was pleased with what he saw when it came to ball security by the Bengals in Detroit.

“Our number one goal is make sure we take care of the football, and I thought our quarterbacks did a great job of that today,” Lewis said. “One ball that got away it got called down, you know, we did a nice job of taking care of the ball. That’s important to us all year.”

As for the defense, Lewis was pleased by the way his team forced the Lions to kick a field goal on the opening drive, despite making it down to the red zone. Last year on defense, we frequently saw a bend but don’t break defense that allowed the second fewest points in the NFL. That was on display early on with the starters on the field in Detroit.

“Our defense obviously did a good job when they got down in the red zone, stopping them and getting off the field and holding them to a field goal,” Lewis said. “A lot of positives today.”

And there were a lot of positives. The only big negative was the ankle injury suffered by Jake Fisher, who was thrust into a starting role on Thursday due to Cedric Ogbuehi going down with a toe injury in the preseason opener.

Lewis didn’t comment on Fisher’s injury further than saying it was an ankle sprain, but he’ll undoubtedly by out of practice for the next few weeks. Veteran left tackle Andrew Whitworth was more forthcoming in talking about what the injury means for his team.

“The way these tackles are going down, I’m going to have to go out in a cast or something next week,” Whitworth joked. “But no, it’s part of football. The reality is, I was telling one of the young guys that the other day. We’ve been fortunate that we’ve been really healthy the last couple of years and that’s not usually the norm. I mean, most of the teams in the league fight injuries all year. So, you know, maybe it’s a good thing they’re happening now though, instead of later.”

Whitworth nails it with the one glimmer of hope through these injuries is that most of the injuries are minor ones that players should be able to return from relatively soon. Ogbuehi, Fisher, Darqueze Dennard, Tyler Kroft and Tyler Eifert are all hoping to return to the field by or shortly after the regular-season opener on September 11 in New York. Andrew Billings isn’t expected to be as lucky as a torn meniscus is likely to end his rookie season before it began. The Bengals are hoping William Jackson III is able to return around the middle of the season.

As the Bengals continue to navigate through the preseason, they’ll look to build off their solid showing in Detroit and get ready for the national spotlight during their dress rehearsal in Jacksonville next Sunday. Hopefully, there will be some positive injury updates before then while no other players get injured.