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“Primetime” Bengals Come Out to Play in Tampa Bay


Monday night’s preseason affair between the Cincinnati Bengals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers may have been a primetime game in name only, but the Bengals’ first-string offense continued to show many of the same traits that have plagued the franchise’s attempts to win the big games in seasons past.

Fifth-year quarterback Andy Dalton lead the dismal performance, finishing the night with 6/13 completions for a paltry 46 yards and a pair of interceptions on eight anaemic drives.

A night in which Dalton played out the entire first half was something of a microcosm of his entire career. Not everything was his fault, but he will deservedly receive most of the blame regardless for his offense’s impotence against an admittedly deadly Tampa Bay pass rush.

Dalton wasn’t looking too bad to open the game, until a well-thrown ball to A.J. Green tipped off the superstar wideout’s fingers and into the waiting hands of a Buccaneer corner. As is Dalton’s tendency, though, things went from bad to worse on the ensuing drive, overthrowing his target and gifting Tampa Bay a pick six.

The signal caller has struggled with the concept of “quarterback amnesia” – the idea that you ignore a bad play and get right back to work – for several seasons now. Instead, Dalton often lets his mistakes compound, making it that much harder to dig his offense out of a rut.

The blame lay elsewhere, too. Besides Green’s hastiness that resulted in the first pick, a solid drive after the pick six was abruptly halted when running back Jeremy Hill fumbled to once again give the Bucs possession in Cincy’s half for the third time in three drives.

A porous offensive line couldn’t contain Tampa Bay’s pass rush, as names like Gerald McCoy and Larry English ran rampant, keeping Dalton jittery and on the move all night.

The Bengals got a nice big helping of what not to do as they closed out the halfway point of the preseason. A similar performance in their “dress rehearsal” next week – a home game against Chicago – could be cause for concern for the long-suffering fans of this franchise.

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