Giants 0-10-0-0 — 10
Bengals 10-7-3-3 — 23
Josh Johnson, CIN: 11-of-21, 175 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
Andy Dalton, CIN: 3-of-3, 31 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
Ryan Nassib, NYG: 8-of-18, 79 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
Eli Manning, NYG: 4-of-8, 22 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
James Wilder Jr., CIN: 13 car, 53 yards, 1 TD
Orleans Darkwa, NYG: 9 car, 52 yards, 1 TD
Greg Little, CIN: 3 rec, 65 yards
Julian Talley, NYG: 3 rec, 34 yards
Click here for the full box score
Bengals Marched Down the Field for an Easy Score on Opening Drive
After the Giants started the game with a 3-and-out, the Bengals needed just six plays to go 52 yards and open the scoring. It was a near flawless drive featuring a solid mix of run and pass, as Jeremy Hill had two runs for 15 yards, and Andy Dalton completed all three of his throws for 31 yards, including an easy three-yard pitch-and-catch to an open Mohamed Sanu at the front of the end zone.
Many of the first-teamers were done after that, and the Bengals have to be ecstatic with what they did.
Akeem Hunt Took a Kickoff Back 70 Yards
After such a poor first offensive series, Akeem Hunt decided to put the Giants in scoring position all by himself. Unfortunately, the offense once again sputtered, ending with zero points after Josh Brown missed a 53-yard field goal.
On the ensuing Bengals drive, rookie Tom Obarski, who is pushing Mike Nugent for a job, drilled a 46-yarder to make it 10-0.
Landon Collins and Mykkele Thompson Both Left With Leg Injuries
Not exactly the start to the season the Giants were hoping for. After a couple of ugly drives on offense, star rookie safety Landon Collins was forced from the game in the first quarter with an apparent knee injury:
Fortunately, those x-rays came back negative:
Just moments later, another rookie safety, Mykkele Thompson, was carted off and immediately ruled out for the remainder of the game with an Achilles injury.
Orleans Darkwa Finished a Nice Drive for the Giants
While the first-team offense couldn’t turn four series into any points, the second team fared a bit better, going 67 yards on eight plays. Orleans Darkwa was the focal point of the offense during the possession, as he took six carries for 26 yards, including a one-yard touchdown to cap the nice drive.
Darkwa, who went undrafted out of Tulane in 2014, is a bit buried on the depth chart, but this was a nice showing.
James Wilder Scored After a Pair of RB Injuries
The Bengals put together an impressive 80-yard scoring drive late in the second quarter, but it came at a price. Rex Burkhead, who figures to be a bigger part of the offense this year as both a running back and wide receiver, left with a neck injury, and a couple players later, Cedric Peerman went down after an awkward landing on his knee.
James Wilder Jr. came in to finish the drive with a two-yard touchdown run up the middle, putting the Bengals ahead, 17-7.
Greg Little’s 42-Yard Grab Led to a 3rd Quarter Field Goal
About midway through the third quarter, Josh Johnson lofted a deep ball down the sideline to Greg Little, who pulled it in with a sweet finger-tip catch for 42 yards. The drive ended up fizzling out, though, and the Bengals had to settle for a 25-yard field goal from Tom Obarski.
It was the second nice catch of the night for Little, who has struggled with drops in the past but is making a strong case to be on the final 53-man roster.
Trevin Wade Secured a Late Interception and Nice Return
With the game pretty much already decided late in the fourth quarter, Giants cornerback Trevin Wade provided a nice highlight for the losing team, picking off Keith Wenning and returning it 61 yards to the 31-yard line. However, it was all for naught, as New York turned the ball over on downs.
Wade, who has spent time with the Cleveland Browns and New Orleans Saints in the past, also had three pass deflections in what was a standout performance.
The Cincinnati Bengals are tired of “just” making the playoffs. The New York Giants, on the other hand, are simply ready to return.
Cincy has made it to the postseason the last four years and five of the last six, but in each instance, it has bowed out in the Wild-Card round. Marvin Lewis’ squad is quickly becoming the NFL’s equivalent of the Atlanta Hawks from 2008 through 2014, and the pressure is increasing on Andy Dalton, who is quickly earning the reputation of prime-time choker. This season will be crucial for the Bengals organization.
As for the G-Men, it has been a three-year postseason drought since their 2011 Super Bowl victory, but with Eli Manning looking more efficient in Ben McAdoo’s system, Odell Beckham doing pretty much whatever he wants and Victor Cruz returning to health, this offense is thoroughly dangerous.
Postseason football may not mean anything in terms of wins and losses, but when it comes to two teams with playoff aspirations, finding the right 53 players is crucial. That starts tonight.