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Historical look at number of first-team possessions for Bengals in Week 2 of the preseason

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How long should we expect the first-team offense to play on Saturday against the Cowboys?

New York Jets v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

This is one of those postings that may only interest me — AKA, I’m thinking about something and I answer it via a Chop Block post. There’s very little insight, story structure, or analysis here; just answering random musings from the couch during a stormy Cincinnati afternoon. There might not even be a conclusion; I’ll just stop when I’m finished.

When Cincinnati hosted Kansas City last year in the second week of the preseason, Andy Dalton’s performance was average (50% completions, 78.4 rating) and the running game was equally effective (or ineffective). Last season’s issues were evident all year — Dalton didn’t have any available weapons outside of A.J. Green and the offensive line had more gaps than a Swiss cheese factory.

If we simplistically categorize the first-team offense as any possession featuring Andy Dalton, then the Bengals’ first-team offense played three possessions during last year’s preseason game against the Chiefs — they exited for the night after a Jake Elliott 32-yard field goal with 7:26 remaining in the second quarter.

My question is this: How long is Cincinnati’s first-team offense typically on the field for during the second preseason game of any year during the Andy Dalton era?

  • In 2016, Cincinnati’s first-team offense (led by Andy Dalton) played three possessions — during that year’s second preseason game — and exited with 12:54 remaining in the second.
  • However, the braintrust kept their first-team unit on the field throughout the entire first half against the Buccaneers in 2015. And for good reason. Cincinnati’s first-team offense punted three times and turned it over three times before scoring a field goal, generating 49 yards and five first downs. Jeremy Hill, Giovani Bernard, Ryan Hewitt, and Dalton combined for 25 yards rushing on 10 attempts. And Dalton, who was sacked three times in the first half, sported a 15.7 passer rating while completing less than 50 percent of his passes and throwing two picks (one returned for a touchdown). The rule of thumb in the preseason: If you’re first-team offense/defense sucks, they play longer.
  • Cincinnati resumed their regular rotation in 2014, pulling Andy Dalton’s first-team crew after three possessions, concluding with a 42-yard Mike Nugent field goal.
  • The first-team offense also played three possessions in 2013 and 2012, while playing the entire first half in 2011 (players were coming off an owner-imposed lockout and Dalton was a rookie).