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Bengals fall to Giants 25-22 in preseason

It was still a promising showing for several young Bengals.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at New York Giants John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals were back in action Sunday night, taking on the New York Giants in Week 2 of the preseason. While the Bengals didn’t play starters, many Giants starters took the field, giving the Cincinnati reserves reps against a starting unit.

With position battles still up in the air, players like Cordell Volson, Chris Evans and Drue Chrisman are in the thick of battles for significant playing time in the regular season, so a strong showing against NFL starters could help their chances in a big way.

First Quarter

The Bengals started out on defense with a strong showing. After New York picked up one first down on the opening drive, the Bengal defense stiffened on a 4th and 1 from just past midfield, as Joseph Ossai stuffed the conversion attempt.

The Bengal offense unfortunately couldn’t capitalize on the great field position. They started with an Evans run, but the offensive line didn’t find much push. After a penalty and a Brandon Allen pass bounced off the hands of Stanley Morgan Jr., the Bengals were forced into Chrisman punt.

After coming close a few times in Week 1 of the preseason, rookie safety Dax Hill finally got his first NFL interception. Hill charged forward on a tipped ball and make a great diving catch to secure the turnover, again around midfield.

A phenomenal sideline catch by Trent Taylor extended a drive in the closing minutes of the quarter, but the Bengals drive stalled yet again, leading to a 49-yard Evan McPherson field goal.

The Bengals closed the quarter with a 3-0 lead.

Second Quarter

New York was finally able to get something going, as their starters remained in for the start of the second quarter. The Bengal defense gave up a couple of chunk plays to set the Giants up inside the Bengals’ five-yard line, where they punched it in on the ground to take a 7-3 lead.

Evans continued to shine in the return game, taking the ensuing kickoff all the way down to the New York 25-yard line. Unfortunately for the second-string offense, they only went backwards on the drive, leading to another McPherson field goal.

Special teams showed up big again on the following kickoff, with Mike Thomas recovering a fumble. Cincinnati’s offense was again starting a drive in the red zone, but just couldn’t get anything going and settled for yet another field goal.

That was it for the Giants first unit, as Tyrod Taylor and the backup offense entered the game midway through the second quarter. The Bengal defense held, forcing a punt and giving the offense another chance. Things didn’t get much better, as another drive sputtered, leading to a Chrisman punt.

The defense continued to hold strong, as the half ended with the Bengals leading 9-7.

Third Quarter

After a rough first half, quarterback Brandon Allen remained in the game for the first drive of the second half, hoping to get something going, and they finally did. A fourth-down conversion, a big gain by Kwamie Lassiter, and some good running from Trayveon Williams culminated in the first Bengal touchdown of the night. Williams, who has battled injuries his entire career, ran tough between the tackles on the drive and ultimately punched in in from a yard out.

The defense continued to hold throughout the quarter, not allowing a point. Rookie Jeff Gunter followed up last week’s performance and started to flash a bit. With a batted ball and some nice run stops, the rookie is continuing to make his presence felt.

As the third quarter wound down, New York’s offense had made it to the red zone and would be threatening heading into the fourth.

Fourth Quarter

The Bengal defense got the fourth quarter started by holding off the Giants, forcing a field goal and retaining the lead. After allowing some chunk plays to get New York in the position to score, the defense bent, but didn’t break.

The first drive of the quarter saw third-string quarterback Jake Browning take a shot on a play that drew a roughing the passer penalty. After the “eye in the sky” pulled Browning from the game to get checked out after possible contact to the head, rookie quarterback Drew Plitt came in, but Browning was cleared and returned three plays later. The drive would stall, leading to a punt.

New York would go on to score, tying the game at 16 and going for a two point conversion. The Bengals coverage held up on the play, but Davis Webb ran in for the conversion, giving the Giants a 18-16 lead.

Browning would stay in the game as the red zone struggles for the offense would stop. After some strong running by familiar face Jacques Patrick, he would punch the ball in from the three-yard line. The Bengals attempted their own two-point try, but a drop by Lassiter kept the Bengal lead at 22-18.

The reserve defense couldn’t hold off Webb and the second half eruption of Alex Bachman, as Bachman scored on a 15 yard pass with 0:35 remaining.

The game effectively ends with 0:01 left on the clock as Trenton Irwin lost a fumble on the last play.

The Bengals fall to 0-2 on the preseason, losing 25-22.

Sights are now set on the Super Bowl rematch with the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday.