Posted on August 27, 2018, by Travis Pulver

The third week of the NFL preseason is supposed to be the best one. Teams typically play starters for at least a half, so fans get to see a little competitive football for the first time in months. But this season, many teams took another approach. Fearing injury, they left the guys everyone came to see on the bench.

It’s not like we watch the preseason expecting to see A+ football being played. But it would have been nice if either of Sunday’s game were a B-.

Via @SportsNewsOrg

To be fair, the Bengals-Bills game wasn’t bad. Andy Dalton looked good and the Bills tried to give Josh Allen a chance to run with the first team. But the Cowboys-Cardinals game—that was just awful (mostly because of the Cowboys).

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Regardless of the quality of the product the teams put on the field Sunday, noteworthy things did happen:

  • Bengals QB Andy Dalton had a good day (11-16 for 180 yards and two touchdowns). But his day started even better when he made a donation ($450,000) to Buffalo’s Roswell Park Cancer Institute. It was the money Bills fans donated to Dalton’s charity last season when the Bengals win helped Buffalo make the playoffs.

“It was a good day. I think the way it started was the best part,” Dalton said after the game. “The game went well, too.”

  • Bills fans deserve a lot of credit for giving Dalton a pair of standing ovations. Normally, when you hear about Bills fans it’s because there’s a new video of some going through a table. If it was because of the help making the playoffs—fine. But if we assume it was out of respect for the classy gesture Dalton made with the donation—even better.
  • Josh Allen (6-12 for 34 yards; sacked five times for 39 yards) is not ready to start. He looked more like the kind of rookie you cut because he can’t handle the NFL game. He certainly didn’t look like someone ready to start against the Baltimore Ravens in Week One.

“I didn’t do a good enough job getting the ball out on time,” Allen said after the game. “I’ve got to do a better job, but there’s a lot to learn from.”

  • After the disastrous start Nathan Peterman had last year, it is not hard to understand why fans don’t want him to start. But J. McCarron isn’t ready to go, and Josh Allen certainly isn’t. So—what choice do they have? If they do go with him, at least he gave them a reason to believe Sunday (16-21 for 200 yards and a touchdown).
  • Either the offensive line the Bills gave their prized rookie was awful or the Bengals pass rush is phenomenal. It’s probably easier to believe the Bengals pass rush is good and the Bills offensive line is just bad.
  • The Cowboys were one of those teams who sat a lot of guys. It’s not a bad move. You know how good your starters are and this will be the only time you have to take a look at everyone else. There’s just one problem—the Dallas reserves are terrible! Eight turnovers—eight! They couldn’t block, the running backs couldn’t make anything happen on their own, the defense gave up way too many big plays, and—the list could go on and on. Bottom line—Dallas can’t handle losing anyone to injury.
  • It almost seems unfair to criticize the Cardinals quarterbacks since, thanks to the turnovers, they didn’t have to do much. But they were unimpressive. Josh Rosen sat, but the other three (Mike Glennon, Chad Kanoff, and Sam Bradford) combined to 13-24 for 63 yards. Way to push the ball downfield guys (sarcasm completely intended).
  • J.T Logan and Chase Edmunds are worth keeping an eye on. They’ve looked good the last couple weeks and the good times continued Sunday. Logan (six carries for 86 yards) scored on a nice 59-yard run; Edmunds had 11 carries for 55 yards.
  • Randy Gregory may be the only player worth talking about for the Cowboys. He recorded three tackles (one for a loss) and a sack.
  • For those who keep score in the preseason, the Bengals beat the Bills 26-13. The Cardinals beat the Cowboys 27-3.

The Bills will close out their preseason with a trip to Chicago to face the Bears. Cincinnati will welcome the Indianapolis Colts to town. The Cardinals will finish out the preseason against the Broncos. Dallas will wrap up its preseason with a trip to Houston.

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