The defense continued to shine, but Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow-less offense continues to look like a mess.
Here’s a look at the biggest winners and losers from tonight.
Chidobe Awuzie: With about 10 minutes left in the first quarter, Ryan Fitzpatrick went deep to Terry McLaurin down the left sideline. Awuzie, who is having arguably the best camp by a Bengals player, went stride-for-stride with one of the underrated deep threats in the league to force an incompletion. He was a key part of a Cincinnati defense that allowed just six points in the first half.
Darius Hodge: The undrafted rookie keeps putting on a show. He got time early in the game on a third down sub-package (Joseph Ossai was out with an injury) and had a hit on Fitzpatrick to force a fluttered throw. Unfortunately, the ball was caught, but Hodge keeps flashing as a pass-rusher on a team seeking a plentiful amount of them.
Logan Wilson: He was a little behind on recognizing a play in the first series which led to a big completion to Logan Thomas, but was in on the fourth down stop on the following series.
Then, on the third series, Wilson forced a fumble on a completion to Cam Sims, which was recovered by Mike Hilton. He had three assisted tackles (including the one that was on the fourth-down stop) and the forced fumble.
Lou Anarumo: The third-year defensive coordinator continues to field what looks to be a promising defense, After shutting down Tom Brady and the Bucs’ first and second-team offenses, the Bengals did more of the same this week when Ryan Fitzpatrick and Taylor Heinicke ran the show.
Anarumo’s defense started the game off with a bang. Washington’s first seven drives (all in first half) were: punt, turnover on downs, fumble, field goal, punt, punt, field goal.
Chris Evans: While Evans had an effective night against the Buccaneers, offensive coordinator Brian Callahan had some public constructive criticism for the rookie at subsequent practices. Evans responded with a couple of nice reads and runs, including a 17-yard run in the second half. Evans had 35 yards on nine carries.
Jacques Patrick: Another backup running back is making it an interesting scrum behind Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon in the position group. Patrick had his second strong showing of the preseason, logging 42 yards on six carries (a 7.0 yards per carry average) and added a catch for five yards.
Evan McPherson: The rookie kicker remained perfect in the preseason, going 2-for-2 on his field goal tries. One was from 50 yards, which was a great sight for Bengals fans. The rookie kicker is proving to be a weapon.
Auden Tate: With the wide receivers plagued with the dropsies on Friday, Tate’s patented strong hands and circus catches came to the rescue.
My goodness Auden Tate pic.twitter.com/ACu8eOBOXg— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) August 21, 2021
He caught every pass thrown his way (two for 23 yards), including the highlight reel grab, ensuring the Bengals having one of the deepest and talented receiving corps in the league.
Brandon Allen: Not a great night for the guy who has the inside track on the backup quarterback job. He gets a bit of a pass (see what I did there?) with four drops by his receivers, but he missed a few throws and almost had one intercepted en route to a night consisting of 8-of-17 passing for 70 yards. Allen did have a rushing touchdown, though.
Ja’Marr Chase: A quiet story in camp that no one seems to want to talk about is how the No. 5 overall pick has had some drops. He had one apiece in the first three drives against Washington. While it’s not panic mode at this point for a variety of reasons (somewhat-innacurate throws by Allen on a couple of occasions, a meaningless preseason game, etc.), it wasn’t a good look for the rookie on Friday night.
Trenton Irwin: The hero of the past week had a little bit of a rough night against Washington. He had a drop on what should have been a first down throw by Allen and then had a lost fumble at Washington’s one-yard line, though it was wiped out because of a penalty to cause it.
He finished with just two catches for 26 yards on six targets, but the two grabs he made were nice ones, in fairness. As with some of Chase’s issues, the quarterback play also went into the catch/target disparity.
Kyle Shurmur: After nearly sparking a Bucs rally last week with a brutal pick-six, Shurmur broke the Bengals’ back tonight with a brutal strip-sack taken early in the fourth quarter, which allowed Washington to score what was ultimately the game-winning touchdown.