Cincinnati Bengals Most Intriguing Preseason Stats so Far
The final tally from the Georgia Dome was 34-10, but that is not important.
More importantly, Cincinnati answered plenty of questions about the team through a vast array of film and statistics, the latter of which contains some intriguing numbers worth taking a closer look at.
Here's a breakdown of the most important numbers of the preseason so far as Cincinnati preps for its Week 2 matchup with the Tennessee Titans.
Note: All statistics courtesy of ESPN.
95.8—Rating for QB Josh Johnson
It's very early, but to suggest Josh Johnson does not have a lock on the backup quarterback job simply in spite of what time of year it is may be erroneous.
Johnson's stellar performance against the Falcons—100 passing yards and a score, 64 rushing yards—should not come as a surprise. The versatile quarterback already knows the system in place thanks to the time he spent under Jay Gruden with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Perhaps the rating above is most telling for Johnson. For a guy who struggled with accuracy in the second episode of HBO's Hard Knocks, Johnson sure put it all together when it matters most.
His only legit competition is John Skelton, formerly of the Arizona Cardinals. By the time Skelton has a chance to fully grasp the offense; Johnson may have already secured the job and sealed Skelton's fate.
2.8—Yards per carry for Giovani Bernard
Much was made of the Bengals' selection of Giovani Bernard in this year's draft. After all, he was the speedy back the fans and media had been wailing for adamantly.
Bernard saw his first NFL action in Atlanta, where he received 10 carries and turned the opportunities into a mediocre 28 yards.
Much of Bernard's time with the rock, outside of a six-yard dash, was spent dancing laterally rather than taking it up the field. He also struggled at times in pass protection.
The North Carolina product is running behind one of the NFL's best run-blocking lines, so much more will be expected in the coming weeks.
5—Targets for Giovani Bernard
Let's stick with Bernard for a moment. Praised by many as the perfect fit in Jay Gruden's West Coast scheme thanks to his ability to catch passes out of the backfield, many went to Atlanta expecting to see that skill set utilized.
They were not disappointed.
Bernard caught only three passes for 16 yards, but the important stat is his five targets.
In other words, Bernard's quarterbacks are trusting him as a check-down option (something the offense has been severely lacking in recent years) and the coaching staff are finding creative ways to get him the ball in space.
135 total yards & Two Touchdowns—Dane Sanzenbacher
With both A.J. Green and Andrew Hawkins not making the trip to Atlanta, the doors were blown off the competition at wide receiver, with more chances than ever for a young receiver to step up and lay claim to a roster spot.
Second-year receiver Dane Sanzenbacher stormed through the doors at full speed.
Sanzenbacher caught two passes for 59 yards and a score, but also made his presence known on special teams with 76 total punt-return yards, one going the distance of 71 for a touchdown.
Cincinnati has plenty of depth, so Sanzenbacher's ability to produce both as a receiver and on returns will be huge when the cut-down process begins.
6—Total Tackles for J.K. Schaffer
Now for the defensive side of things.
Linebacker is the position to watch as there is an overwhelming amount of talent currently on the roster in Cincinnati. One of the talented players thought to be on the outside looking in was J.K. Schaffer, a local product from the University of Cincinnati.
In Atlanta, Schaffer made his presence known leading the team in tackles. It only further intensifies a middle linebacker competition between Schaffer, Vincent Rey and a host of others.
92—Amount of rushing yards allowed vs. Falcons
It shouldn't come as a surprise that the Bengals' perennially stout-run defense held the Falcons to low production, especially considering Atlanta is more known for its passing attack.
Then again, any time a team holds its opposition to less than 100 yards rushing, a few eyebrows need to be raised.
Atlanta only rushed the ball a total of 24 times with a 3.8 average, but it's not as if the team is lacking for talented backs. We know what Steven Jackson is capable of, Jacquizz Rodgers continues to be electric and Jason Snelling is one of the NFL's most reliable.
So for Cincinnati through four quarters of football with third and fourth string players in the game at some points to hold Atlanta to less than 100 yards is impressive. The Bengals had help, but the performance is a sign of things to come—not that we expected anything else with Mike Zimmer in charge.
Follow B/R's Chris Roling on Twitter for more news and analysis @Chris_Roling
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