The Bengals will play their final pre-season game at Lucas Oil Stadium—to take on the Indianapolis Colts
By BRYANT K. KIZER
The third week in the pre-season is supposed to be a dress-rehearsal for the NFL. Teams’ first stringers usually dip into the third quarter. If that was so, last Thursday, Cincinnati does not want the curtain to open on Sept. 10.
The Bengals looked horrible in their 27-13 loss against the visiting Green Bay Packers.
Second-year quarterback Andy Dalton was horrible. Last year’s pro-bowl signal caller connected only five of his 17 passes thrown. He was in action on the first seven of 15 Bengals’ offensive possessions. The Bengals offense was horrible. They only had 195 yards total offense. Their defense was horrible as they gave up nearly 350 yards total offense. Should head coach Marvin Lewis be nervous with opening kick-off just a dozen days away at Baltimore on Monday night?
Lewis is not. “I don’t think that you have to judge where we are right now. We just have to know that some guys we are going to need to play (in the regular season) are getting an opportunity to play. Obviously, we want to get all the other guys back and healthy and ready to go for the regular season. I don’t want to sit and judge. I know what we need to do. These don’t count for much, except for the fact that we are getting an opportunity to play. We are down some guys. We’re down some numbers. We can’t take our guys further into the game because they are getting a lot of snaps in practice.
“The positives include that the receivers continue to show well. Brandon Tate made some big catches. Armon (Binns) had a couple of nice catches in there. We didn’t get the ball in to (Andrew) Hawkins very much today, but we are moving forward. Defensively, we are doing a good job in coverage and I like that, but we are not doing a very good job keeping the quarterback hemmed in, and that’s three weeks in a row, now. We’re not game-planning for some of the things that we’re seeing, but I know we’re going to have to handle that in the regular season. No question about it. It is where we are right now. We said going into this that it was going to be good to play good opponents on this preseason schedule. They got some of their guys back tonight. They felt pretty good. You don’t want to be down like we were, giving up the two scores on the first two possessions that they had the ball today,” said Lewis.
The Packer offense only converted one out of 13 third-down conversions. They also had five possessions where they went three-and-out, and they had three turnovers.
“We didn’t play very well tonight. We didn’t get anything going. We had too many three-and-outs. We weren’t getting into it. It’s unfortunate to see, but we were close. We missed on a couple things, but this will be a good film to learn from,” said Dalton.
Dalton led the team in rushing with 36 yards on three carries, while trying to get their ground game going without free agent BenJarvus Green-Ellis, still out with a toe injury.
After the game, the Bengals had to cut the roster to 80 so they placed five players on the reserve/injured list, cornerbacks Brandon Ghee and Shaun Prater (their fifth round pick from Iowa), WR/CB Taveon Rogers, safety Robert Sands and guard Travelle Wharton. The Bengals cut defensive end Luke Black (who they signed about six days ago), running back Aaron Brown, quarterback Tyler Hansen and guard Matt Murphy.
The Bengals will play their final pre-season game at Lucas Oil Stadium—to take on the Indianapolis Colts—this Thursday at 7 p.m. The first stringers will probably play two series. The Bengals will have to make one more cut to shave the roster to 53 players.