Posted on August 27, 2017, by Travis Pulver
The Washington Redskins hope they have the pieces they need to contend in the NFC East. The Cincinnati Bengals hope they can keep everyone healthy long enough to make a push of their own in the AFC North. Both have potential. Both are expected to be good teams this season giving fans reason to believe Sunday’s game could be an entertaining one.
Overall, it was— for a preseason game. No one tried anything too crazy. A.J. Green played some. Speedster John Ross made his preseason debut. There were big plays. There were dumb plays and the Bengals punter had the play of the game.
Like every other preseason contest, there were things that were notable and interesting. But at this point is safe to say one thing.
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Yes, Hank. We are ready for some football. Real football.
- For those interested, the Redskins ended up winning the game 23-17.
- The play of the game was absolutely the attempted punt by Bengals punter Kevin Huber. It came during a stretch of the third quarter where both sides were making tremendous plays on defense because neither offense could remember who to block. On this play, rookie Zach Pascal came off the edge completely untouched and nearly took the ball out of Huber’s hands. He would have had Huber not pulled a sweet little move.
- It would have been better if Huber succeeded in getting the kick off after scrambling, but the Redskins were able to take him down.
- Andy Dalton, A.J. Green, Jeremy Hill, and the rest of the Bengals offense looked great to start the game driving the ball 96-yards for a touchdown on the opening drive. But as the game went on, the offense bogged down and looked somewhat pedestrian.
“We just executed,” Green said (ESPN). “Once we’re clicking on all cylinders and everybody’s getting their touches, we can be a dangerous offense.”
- Cincinnati’s defense looked pretty good for the first time during preseason play. Anytime your defense has someone intercept a pass and return it 62-yards for a touchdown (well done, Vontaze Burfict), the defense is going to grade well.
- 40-yard dash champ John Ross finally took the field but failed to catch one of the two passes thrown his way. He did, however, make a nice, little eight-yard gain on an end-around.
- Rookie Joe Mixon got some extra time with Jeremy Hill going down with an injury. He made a few nice runs (eight carries, 31 yards) but then also fumbled an exchange with Andy Dalton.
- Kirk Cousins (10-19 for 109 yards and an interception) and the Washington passing game did not look good—again. But in recent years, he has struggled to get on track. But once he does, the offense starts to roll. With the Redskins letting his top two receivers go and leaving him with a converted quarterback, Brian Quick (eh), tight end Jordan Reed, and some youngsters, they should expect some growing pains this season.
- While it does, it looks like the running game could help out this season. ‘Fat’ Rob Kelley had a good night with 57 yards and a touchdown on ten carries. Chris Thompson made a nice catch and run (27 yards). But rookie Samaje Perine couldn’t find daylight (five carries for five yards).
- Cousins is an anomaly. He prefers to play on one-year deals because they give him freedom while still paying him well. Most guys cry and hold out if they don’t get a long-term deal. Rather than put let Vontaze Burfict run free to the end zone after he intercepted him, Cousins chased him down and attempted to make a play. He didn’t—but he tried.
Redskins head coach Jay Gruden liked seeing his quarterback attempt to tackle a linebacker (ESPN): “To let a guy score a touchdown on our home field is unacceptable, so I’m happy he did that.”
- Both teams showed signs of poor coaching. The Redskins offense and defense struggled to start the game allowing the team to fall into a 14-3 hole. But then they woke up enough to get within a point at halftime. Against a team better than Cincinnati, they would have been too far behind to even think about a comeback. Gruden has to figure out how to get his guys to take their collective heads out of their behinds if they want to win the tough games this season.
- Then there was that stretch late in the third quarter were players on both sides started flying in for tackles in the backfield, sacks, and the Kevin Huber punt. Clearly, there were several guys that did not have a clue what they were supposed to do. That’s on you, coaches.
Cincinnati will wrap up its preseason with a trip to Indianapolis next Thursday (kickoff at 7 PM ET). Washington will close out its preseason against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (also Thursday, kickoff at 7:30 PM ET).