After the Cincinnati Bengals second consecutive victory, beating the Tennessee Titans 27-19 at home on Saturday as the first team offense answered the challenge addressed after last week’s par performance against the Falcons.
The starting offense was led by Andy Dalton who went 9 of 14 for 115 yards and a touchdown in the victory. But he wasn’t the only one to contribute to the bruising the Titans got and well take a look at the key players to the victory in the second game of the preseason.
Bernard Giovanni answered the challenge after having a difficult time making that break out play in the first week. Giovanni did put a lot of pressure on himself, and one of the great characteristics about this guy is that he is his own worst critic and is hard on himself to do good every week. While some might think this could keep players from getting out of their own heads, it a characteristic that keeps them hungry and always wanting to get better.
And better Giovanni got in week 2. Starting the game in place of BenJarvus GreenEllis, Giovanni didn’t disappoint running for 37 yards on seven carries. That’s a 5.3 yards per carry and that’s good enough to be one of the best in the league if maintained throughout the year.
Giovanni also displayed why the Bengals picked him up in the second round of the draft with a 22-yard run on a short catch. This was similar to the play he had last week, but he was able to stay on his feet this week. His catching capabilities are Giovanni’s “x-factor” and if he can do this on a regular basis, the Bengals have good chance completely short and mid-distance third downs.
“I think we were a little bit hungry tonight. After last week, we wanted to put points on the board with the ‘ones’ in there. So we go out of this game feeling a little better than last week,” Dalton to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
2. Dalton being Dalton
It wouldn’t have been hard to excuse an off day for Dalton after getting both hit and then sacked – which resulted in a fumble – during the first series of the game – but the Titans were unable to score after taking over at the Cincinnati 27, thanks to one of three missed fields goals by Titans’ kickers.
Instead of calling it a day, Dalton answered and delivered pass after pass to the Bengals’ second and backup receivers, thanks to A.J Green’s knee injury that is keeping him out of live action until next week.
Dalton led an 8-play, 72-yard drive to the Bengals 1 yard line that was set up by a 24-yard pass from Dalton to Mohamed Sanu that was ruled a touchdown but overturned an placed at the one yard line.
The next drive, Dalton connected to Sanu for a 2-yard touchdown pass after completing two third-and-longs to Sanu and Brandon Tate.
The Bengals’ starting defense needed to have a big week and the unit came up short. The team recorded no sacks or hits against the Falcons’ Matt Ryan in week 1 and the same thing happened in week 2.
Not only did the defense struggle to make a big play, but they allowed the Titans to average 4.8 yards per carry. The Titans appeared to be in Bengals’ territory the entire game which is close with 7 of 9 possessions ending in Bengals territory.
“It’s always great to turn a team away without points when you’ve given up a turnover in your own end. It’s also good of course that we forced them to settle for field goal tries,” cornerback Terence Newman told USA today. “But they got some of those tries after moving the ball downfield on us a little bit, so we can’t feel totally good about our performance. There was some good, but also some bad.”
The defensive unit did have a sack, but that didn’t occur until the fourth quarter. Mike Zimmer is not happy with the play of the defense, and even though things look shaky for the top-five ranked defense in 2012, it should come to form by the beginning of the season.
4. Thanks kickers
If it wasn’t for the dismal kicking performance of the Titans, they would have won the game. However, Titan’s starter Rob Bironas was having an off day, missing two of his three field goal attempts (38 and 37 yard attempts). Backup Maikon Bonani also missed one of his attempts for a total of 9 points that would have given the Titans a 28-27 victory.
After having missed all of training camp and the first two preseason games, A.J. Green is expected to play in week three against the Cowboys. The team also expects offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth to be back on the field as well.