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Bengals’ defense shines in 23-13 win over Redskins

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Ryan Finley was off to a second hot start, while the defense suffocated Washington en route to Zac Taylor’s first preseason win as head coach of the Bengals.

NFL: Preseason-Cincinnati Bengals at Washington Redskins Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals looked to right the ship in their second preseason game of 2019.

Zac Taylor made some changes to the starting offensive line, inserting Michael Jordan and Trey Hopkins into the lineup. Those two were the only players on the offensive line to not be penalized when the first team was in.

Penalties were a devastating plague for the Bengals early, and C.J. Uzomah led the team with three. However, the number of penalties greatly declined when the first team was done for the day.

Ryan Finley moved up a spot on the depth chart, playing with the twos and scoring the team’s first touchdown.

Damion Willis and Jordan Ellis shined as well, each eclipsing over 50 yards from scrimmage. Willis led the team in receptions with five and in receiving yards with 59. Ellis led the team in targets and gained over 70 yards on 20 touches on the ground and through the air.

The game started with flags flying everywhere. On the first drive, there were 62 yards of penalties and only 17 yards of offense.

The most significant penalties were against the Redskins infamous cornerback, Josh Norman. He was flagged for a late hit Giovani Bernard, then flagged for an unsportsmanlike penalty against the official. Both of those penalties combined for 23 yards. With 12:24 left in the first quarter, Dalton fired off a 13-yard pass to Josh Malone for the first real positive gain of the game.

The drive ended abruptly when Dalton’s pass was deflected at the line of scrimmage, Montae Nicholson picked the ball off and returned it 97 yards for the score. Dustin Hopkins missed the extra point, so the score was 6-0 with 11:45 left in the quarter.

The final stat line on Dalton was five completions on nine passes, 36 yards, no touchdowns, and an unfortunate pick-six.

The Bengals punted and the veterans on the Redskins offense immediately ripped the Bengals apart. Adrian Peterson broke out for a 26-yard run and Vernon Davis caught a 17-yard pass to start out the drive. That was just about all the offense could muster, however, and Hopkins missed a 50-yard field goal with 6:39 left in the quarter.

Ryan Finley led the second team and looked just as good as he did in Week 1. Finley did a great job of navigating the pocket which collapsed on him a couple times, and was assisted by an offensive line that didn’t get any penalties called against them.

Finley broke the deadlock and led the Bengals down to the five-yard line where he hit Drew Sample on an out route for a touchdown with 10:10 left in the second quarter. Finley was eight for eight on the drive with 79 yards and the touchdown. Randy Bullock missed the extra point, so the game was tied 6-6.

The Redskins came out with their first team offense against the Bengals’ second team defense. The Bengals did a great job in forcing a punt after an offensive pass interference made the Redskins replay a fourth down conversion.

First-round pick Dwayne Haskins came out with the Redskins second offense. He narrowly avoided a three-and-out, and later uncorked a 55-yard pass to Robert Davis for the score. Davis smoked by Trayvon Henderson and had no trouble scoring after being hit in stride by Haskins. Hopkins finally made an extra point, so with 1:51 remaining in the half, the Bengals trailed 13-6.

Midway in the third quarter, the Bengals received a huge boost when Jordan Willis forced a fumble out of Haskins’ hand, which was pounced on by Kerry Wynn on the 25 yard line. Sample and Auden Tate made some nice grabs to keep the Bengals moving forward. But Tate wasn’t done for the drive, and made a sliding catch to get into the endzone. Tristian Vizcaino came out for the extra point, which was actually good, and the Bengals suddenly tied the score at 13 with 3:11 to go in the quarter.

Finley left the game 20 of 26 for 150 yards and two touchdowns, with a passer rating of 115.9.

Jeff Driskel came into the game and nearly threw a touchdown on his fourth snap on 35-yard dime to undrafted wide receiver Damion Willis. Unfortunately, Willis was flagged for a borderline offensive pass interference so the play was overturned. Vizcaino attempted a 46-yard field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter, but pushed it left.

Driskel came back after the punt and moved the ball with his feet as well as with his arm. He had 17 rushing yards on the drive, which was enough to move him into second on the team. He couldn’t move the ball to the end zone, though, so Vizcaino attempted a 57-yard boot. The kick was good and gave the Bengals the 16-13 lead with 8:09 left in the game.

On the next drive, an Immanuel Turner sack led to a punt. Alex Erickson turned the punt into a 75-yard return to extend the Bengals’ lead to 23-13 after Vizcaino’s extra point with 6:18.

Both teams ran down the clock after that, so the final score was 23-13 for the Bengals’ first win of the preseason. The Bengals will be back at home next Thursday when the Giants come to Paul Brown Stadium.

Who Dey!