Second-year quarterback Andy Dalton led the Cincinnati Bengals (2-1) into FedEx Field on Sunday to light up the scoreboard, and the Washington Redskins in a 38-31 victory in Landover, MD. Dalton completed 19 out of 27 attempts for 328 yards with three touchdowns and an interception.
But Dalton and his young Thundercats orchestrated a brilliant offensive performance that was at times breathtaking as they did what they wanted to do against the Redskins, convincingly.
“We know Andy is unflappable,” said Bengals’ head coach Marvin Lewis. “He continues to show that week in and week out. He really settles and plays, and he may have a play that he wants back, but he lets it go. He moves on to the next one, and that’s it. He understands it’s one play at a time, and he has great personality and makeup that way.
“He has confidence now,” Lewis added. “He knows he can do this. There is nothing that happens out there that he can’t handle. He’s a great leader. He did everything that was asked of him a year ago, and it’s good defense we just faced today as far as they can put up good numbers on people and good rushes. We took what they gave us; we didn’t run the ball, rip up and down the field today, so he had to throw it and did a nice job.”
However, Redskins’ kicker Billy Cundiff nailed a 36-yard field goal to bring Washington within 14 before halftime.
Redskins rookie QB Robert Griffin III was pressured relentlessly in the first half, causing him to not produce positive results. Nevertheless, at the start of the second half, he started to roll and used his legs to extend plays to create opportunities for his teammates. That led to 14 consecutive points (17 total), tying the two teams, 24-24.
It wasn’t long before the Bengals turned up the heat on Griffin III and the Redskins again. Cincinnati took over and never looked back. Despite being pushed and knocked around, RGIII had an opportunity to be a hero in his home debut, but the Bengals shut it down.
Just days after appearing on The Jim Rome Show to share his secrets behind his fumble-free NFL career, BenJarvus Green-Ellis lost his first fumble since 2007 when he was at Ole Miss. In 56 games (23 starts), the Law Firm has registered 2,268 yards on 566 carries (4.0 YPC) with 31 touchdowns on the ground and 30 receptions for 326 yards through the air.
It didn’t take long for the team to dip into its bag of tricks on offense, as rookie receiver Mohamed Sanu lined up out of the Wildcat and struck on a connection with A.J. Green for a 73-yard score on the first play from scrimmage. It was presumably the first of at least a handful of successful throws from Sanu in the NFL and the longest touchdown reception of Green’s young career.
A.J. Green also racked up nine receptions for a career-high 183 yards on Sunday.
Through three games, it’s clear Cincinnati possesses one of the best young receiving corps in the NFL.
Green leads the team with 21 receptions for 311 yards and two scores and three other targets on the team have each collected 12 catches, including Andrew Hawkins for 208 yards and two scores, Armon Binns for 157 yards and a score and tight end Jermaine Gresham for 131 yards and a touchdown.