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5 winners and 4 losers from Bengals’ convincing win over Bills

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If you wanted to see improvement from the Bengals’ early units this week, you probably enjoyed Cincinnati’s Week 3 performance in the preseason.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Buffalo Bills Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

“The Dress Rehearsal.” For lovebirds, it usually means nuptials are forthcoming, but for football fans, it means that the all-important Week 3 game of the preseason is underway.

Cincinnati needed a good showing from their starters after a poor performance by the early groups in Dallas the prior week. And, if you’ re gauging things based off of the early score, the Bengals looked as if they were in midseason form on Sunday as they beat the Bills 26-13.

Here are some of the best and worst performers by the Bengals in Week 3 of the preseason, which led to creating some winners and losers in Cincinnati.

Winners:

John Ross: The Bengals’ defense did their job on the first drive of the game, Ross had a fair catch on a punt to give the team good field position. On the Bengals’ first offensive play from scrimmage, Andy Dalton let loose a deep pass to Ross, who caught it and jived his way into the end zone for a 56-yard score.

Needless to say, Ross, the Bengals’ staff and fans all loved seeing this play. He did have a critical drop on a third down, though, but finished with two catches for 66 yards and the score.

Andrew Billings: The big guy in the middle of the Bengals’ defense keeps making plays this preseason. Though the Bills had a couple of runs to gash up the middle of Cincinnati’s unit on their second possession, Billings helped to stop Buffalo’s promising drive with a sack of Josh Allen.

Andy Dalton: Aside from a few of drops by Joe Mixon, Tyler Eifert and John Ross (all of which were very catchable), the Bengals’ signal-caller looked very sharp. He threw two touchdown passes and 131 yards in the first quarter alone.

After a quarter and a half of work, Dalton took a seat and ended the day 11-of-16 for 179 yards, while leading the team to 17 points. The veteran quarterback hit six different receivers on the afternoon.

Oh, and he had a raucous standing ovation by the Bills crowd because of his charitable endeavors in the city of Buffalo.

Name a pass-rusher: Billings had a sack, while Geno Atkins was also a force in the middle, often pushing Bills guard Vladimir Ducasse into Allen’s lap. Carl Lawson and Jordan Willis were also forces off of the edge, as the crew combined for five first-half sacks.

Marvin Lewis: After the preseason opener, fans became hopeful in the rebuild project that is the 2018 squad was coming to fruition. However, a major step taken backward was seen in Week 2 of the preseason against the Cowboys.

Yet, in the most important game of the preseason, Lewis’ Bengals showed up in a big way. They pitched a shutout by halftime, while the first unit offense grabbed 17 points in a quarter and a half and the special teams also playing flawless football.

Losers:

Alex Redmond: After getting the start at right guard, Redmond had a pretty terrible onset of the game. He did allow slight pressure on the Ross touchdown, while also garnering two penalties (false start and holding) on their second possession.

His holding penalty brought the offense’s second drive to a halt. Meanwhile the Bengals are still looking for answers for starting linemen on the right side.

Running backs: The theme of the preseason has been that the Bengals haven’t been able to run the football. It was on display throughout the game, as Mixon had two carries for minus-two yards in the first quarter.

Mixon also dropped a screen pass, while Giovani Bernard was stopped on a third down pass for no gain and had a five-yard loss on a sweep. It was so bad that Mixon and Bernard combined for nine carries and 16 rushing yards.

Cordy Glenn: The Bengals’ pass protection was pretty solid early in the contest and Glenn was a major reason why. However, the biggest offseason acquisition for the team (figuratively and literally) had to leave the game early with a shoulder injury.

Early indications give us the impression that it isn’t serious, as Glenn was seen cruising around the sideline and even giving thumbs up to folks. Still, everyone in Bengaldom is holding their breath to make sure Glenn can stay healthy, which was a recent issue when he was with Buffalo.

The good news is it looks like he’s fine, but this will still be something to monitor going forward.

C.J. Goodwin: The guy with very limited experience as a cornerback was victimized often on Sunday. Buffalo struggled so mightily on offense, that they played starting wideouts Zay Jones and Kelvin Benjamin into the second half.

Goodwin was tasked with covering both at different times, with the results netting a 28-yard reception by Benjamin and a pass interference penalty against Jones in the end zone. Goodwin was thrown to the wolves and didn’t respond all that well, unfortunately.