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Bengals offense struggles against Washington en route to 17-13 defeat

The Bengals’ defense continues to show promise.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Washington Football Team Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals’ defensive line looked brilliant for the second straight week, but the offense could not keep up. Brandon Allen played the majority of the snaps under center, but the offense was slow when he was on the field.

Ja’Marr Chase’s rookie struggles followed him to Landover, as all three of his targets resulted in drops. The offensive line didn’t help much either, as penalties from rookies and veterans alike hampered the offensive progress.

The Bengals only scored 13 points, which wasn’t enough. The Bengals lost their second preseason game to the Washington Football Team, 17-13.

First quarter

The Bengals kept their ones on the field for the entire first quarter, and the offense lagged. Offensive line play and drops from Ja’Marr Chase highlighted the unit’s struggles in the first period. Even when the Bengals got great field position, Chase’s third-straight drop resulted in a failed third down conversion, resulting in an Evan McPherson field goal in the red zone.

The defense definitely outplayed the offense. They forced two turnovers in the first three drives, one on downs and one from a Logan Wilson forced fumble.

Washington kept their first-team offense on for the entire first quarter, even though the Bengals sent out their second-team defense. The line wasn’t as dominant this time, but they didn’t break and held Washington to a field goal, which tied the game at three a piece.

Second quarter

The Bengals’ second offense played against the Washington first defense at the start of the quarter, which led to a quick three-and-out. But even when playing against the Washington twos, the Bengals’ offense still couldn’t move the ball. Brandon Allen only completed four of twelve passes in the first half, and the Bengals were 0-for-6 on third down.

The Bengals’ backup defense put the pressure on Taylor Heinicke in the second quarter. Cam Sample, Freedom Akinmoladun, and even Brandon Wilson got in the backfield on forced a couple punts.

When the Bengals let Heinicke throw, however, he was spot on. The Washington quarterback completed each of his first nine passes. On his tenth pass, Darius Phillips, who Washington had picked on throughout the quarter, tipped a pass which led to a Markus Bailey nearly intercepted. Heinicke went after Phillips again, but the ball was incomplete, forcing a field goal. Dustin Hopkins gave Washington a 6-3 lead with 26 seconds left in the half.

Third quarter

The Bengals’ offense finally got going, thanks in part to a positive kick return from Phillips. Auden Tate kept the drive alive with a trademarked circus catch and Chris Evans added 26 rushing yards on the drive. Trenton Irwin finally got a good ball from Allen, and set up an Allen sneak. Austin Seibert made the extra point, and the Bengals’ retook the lead 10-6 with 10:57 left in the third quarter.

The Bengals put their threes in against Washington’s twos, and Jaret Patterson took advantage. Patterson had 21 yards, but the Bengals’ defense forced another field goal to keep the lead, 10-9.

Fourth Quarter

Kyle Shurmur came into the game late into third quarter, and the Bengals’ offense looked more lively than it ever had with Allen that night. That was, until, Shurmur rolled out and coughed up the ball at his own 30-yard line.

From there, Patterson ate up yardage until he crossed the goal line on a one-yard rushing touchdown. Washington went for two to gain a 17-10 lead with 11:47 left in the game.

Shurmur was done after one possession, and Eric Dungey came in under center. Dungey fed Jacques Patrick, which set up another McPherson field goal, this time from 50 yards. The Bengals still trailed 17-13 with 6:43 remaining.

The offense got the ball back with 5:11 remaining, but Dungey failed to convert a fourth-and-two with 2:44 left in the game. Washington ran the clock out and finished with the win.

Now 1-1 in the preseason, the Bengals get a long week before the final exhibition match next Sunday. The Miami Dolphins come to Cincinnati for a 4:00 P.M. showdown next Sunday.