Sure, we all know that preseason games don’t mean anything in the NFL, but it sure is fun when your hometown team can pound their geographic rivals, regardless of the setting. In trouncing the Indianapolis Colts 35-7 on Thursday night, the Cincinnati Bengals won a battle of the backups, but they also gave us some clues about the 2014 season. Here are three takeaways.
Jeremy Hill Is for Real
Jeremy Hill is expected to be the main backup option to Giovani Bernard in the Bengals backfield, and the rookie did everything he could on Thursday to prove that he’s ready to get his regular-season touches. Hill led the Bengals in both rushing (20 carries, 90 yards, long run of 17 yards) and receptions (6-for-6, 70 yards). Along the way, he even made backup quarterback Jason Campbell look pretty good, turning a little dink pass into a 41-yard gain.
Hill won’t see quite this much work during the regular season, but he could probably handle it.
Margus Hunt Could Be a Beast
At 6’8″ and 290 pounds, Margus Hunt is supposed to be a beast, but he has been a project since the Bengals picked him in the second round last year. On Thursday, the defensive end dominated at the line of scrimmage and recorded three sacks for his efforts. With play like that, he will should work himself into some serious minutes in Cincinnati’s rotation this fall.
The Hunt project may not be completed, but it’s certainly rounding into form.
The Bengals Could Be Exciting
The Bengals have shown hints this preseason that they like the big play, and that tendency was on full display against the Colts. In addition to Hill’s big catch-and-run, Cobi Hamilton broke free for a 50-yard TD catch, Dane Sanzenbacher returned a punt 77 yards for a touchdown and Danieal Manning nabbed a pick-six off Chandler Harnish in the third quarter.
With plenty of fire power on both sides of the ball, the 2014 Cincinnati Bengals figure to be anything but boring on the field.
As usual, the fourth game of the preseason was mop-up time for the Cincinnati Bengals, an opportunity for starters to get, or stay, healthy as they prepare for the season opener on September 6. In the dregs of the exhibition season, though, the Bengals flashed us a bit of bonus promise for a big year.