Sometimes when a game looks like a total dog on paper, it winds up being very entertaining, because two crummy teams do crummy things on defense, creating long, exciting touchdowns.
This was one of those games.
Each team scored three touchdowns that covered at least 23 yards, and both secondaries had some Benny Hill lapses in the second half. It wasn’t all bad for the defenses; there were eight sacks and two turnovers in the game (ironically, the Browns had six of the eight sacks and an interception on defense), but really, it was pretty bad, and the sad reality for Bengals fans is that the two teams looked pretty evenly matched.
What conclusions can we draw from the game?
Well, Trent Richardson is worth the hype, for one. He showed some impressive speed around the edge on his 32-yard touchdown run and then frightening power on his second score—on a screen pass—in which he broke four tackles on his way into the end zone. If the guy gets a head of steam, it’s going to be very tough to bring him down.
Also, maybe—just maybe—Brandon Weeden isn’t the worst quarterback in NFL history, as he appeared during his debut last week. Perhaps the Eagles defense deserves some credit for making him look so bad.
(Conversely, you could argue, given how well Andy Dalton played against the Browns, that Mike Vick really is a turnover machine.)
D’Qwell Jackson was another Brown who had a fantastic game, with three sacks and a pick in a losing cause, but their secondary let them down, as a collection of no-name Bengals receivers all had productive games despite getting good pressure from the front seven.
Brandon Tate had a 44-yard bomb for one touchdown, and Andrew Hawkins slalomed past the secondary for a 50-yard score for Cincy.
The Bengals got a fantastic performance from Dalton, the usual weekly touchdown from A.J. Green and a clutch juggling reception on the sideline from TE Jermaine Gresham to seal the win. I’m sure Dalton and his receivers will feel good looking at the film, but nobody else on the team is gonna be happy watching this.