It’s an interconference clash in week 2 of full preseason action on the NFL gridiron in the nation’s capital. The Cincinnati Bengals are on the road as they make the trip to face the Washington Redskins Thursday night. Cincinnati opened the preseason with a 38-17 road loss at the hands of Kansas City in their preseason opener Saturday night. Washington was drubbed 30-10 in their preseason debut as they were handled by Cleveland last Thursday. The Bengals own a 5-4-1 edge in the all-time regular-season contests between the teams: they tied 27-27 in the last meeting, which came in Cincinnati on October 30, 2016.
Cincinnati Bengals Looking to Figure Things Out
Cincinnati was pasted in the opening game of the preseason as they were sliced up by the Chiefs. After taking a 7-0 lead midway through the opening quarter, the Bengals gave up 24 unanswered points and never recovered in the contest. Cincinnati was outgained 400-274 in the game, gave up 23 first downs while picking up 16, and dropped the time of possession battle by a 31:47 to 28:13 margin in the contest. In addition to those struggles, the Bengals turned the ball over four times while forcing just one takeaway. Cincinnati had two lost fumbles on special teams, leading to 14 Kansas City points.
— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) August 11, 2019
Andy Dalton was sharp in his early work, going seven of nine for 80 yards despite missing star receiver A.J. Green along with running backs Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard. In the battle for the #2 quarterback spot, rookie Ryan Finley acquitted himself nicely as he hit 13 of 18 passes for 109 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Meanwhile, Jeff Driskel completed only eight of 19 throws for 79 yards and a pick. There was no run game to speak of for the Bengals as the team ran the ball 12 times for 21 yards. Jordan Ellis led the team with all of 11 yards on three carries: he also hauled in a team-leading five passes for 44 yards plus a score. Tyler Boyd (28 yards), Stanley Morgan Jr. (42 yards) and Auden Tate (42 yards) each had three catches in the defeat. Tristan Vizcaino hit his lone extra-point attempt and his lone field goal try, which came from 47 yards. He’s battling with the incumbent kicker Randy Bullock, who hit his lone extra-point try. The Bengals have to be more disciplined after picking up 11 penalties for 115 yards in the contest.
“If guys are competitive and they’re being physically, it’s going to be a little bit chippy,” said head coach Zac Taylor, who called for his defense to be physical after Saturday night’s game. “That doesn’t bother me. You want to protect your teammates, so you don’t ever want it to escalate to something that could possibly injure somebody. But I’m OK if guys are getting after guys a little bit.”
Finley is trying to beat out Driskel for the No. 2 job. One advantage Driskel has is an ability to play special teams.
“I think tomorrow, we’re going to take a look at Driskel on special teams as well. He’s a weapon,” Taylor said. “He’s got good size. He’s got great speed, the athleticism. So don’t be surprised tomorrow if you see him kind of wrinkled in there a little bit in some other phases.
Update (8/14/19): Finley has been taking reps with the second unit in practice on Tuesday and Driskel was working as a wide receiver. Finley will be the first quarterback off the bench and Driskel will likely play in the second half.
Washington Redskins Seeking Answers at QB
Washington was drubbed pretty thoroughly by Cleveland in their preseason opener last week and their search to figure out their QB situation will go on for at least another week. The Redskins were unable to get much going when they had the ball and they struggled when Cleveland had possession, leading to a one-sided defeat. Washington lost the total yardage battle 417-271 in the contest and gave up 23 first downs while picking up only 12, thereby negating a near-even (30:10 to 29:50 in favor of Cleveland) time of possession battle. The Redskins were hurt by four turnovers, including a pick-six, and they also allowed a punt return for a score.
👀 Oh WOW https://t.co/AiyHGBvvww
— Washington Redskins (@Redskins) August 9, 2019
Colt McCoy didn’t play in the preseason opener and still holds the top spot on the depth chart, mainly due to his experience in Jay Gruden’s system. Case Keenum, picked up after Denver let him go, finished only four of nine for 60 yards and a touchdown: 46 of his yards came on the touchdown pass. Josh Woodrum was six of 11 for 44 yards and a pick while rookie first-round pick Dwayne Haskins completed eight of 14 passes for 117 yards with two interceptions in his NFL debut. Craig Reynolds led the team with nine carries for 21 yards while Haskins added 17 yards on his two rushing attempts. Thirteen different players caught a pass for Washington with Darvin Kidsy (five receptions, 86 yards) and Kelvin Harmon (two grabs, 17 yards) the only two players to catch more than one ball. Dustin Hopkins hit his only extra point and his lone field goal attempt, which came from 35 yards.
Update (8/14/19): McCoy is being held out and is “still a little sore from the last day of practice,” according to Gruden. Keenum took most of the reps as the starting quarterback. Washington is being very careful with McCoy, who is coming off offseason leg surgery.
“It’s not quite where it was when [McCoy] was 100 percent without the injury. It’s something he’s still dealing with and will have to deal with,” Gruden said of McCoy’s injury. “Main thing is to make sure he’s comfortable back there and has enough strength to push off and throw and feels good about if he does get hit, that it’s healthy and stable, which it is.”
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