Grades for Bengals-Buccaneers
Here are the top takeaways and the top five grades for each team, from the final encounter of the second week of preseason as the Buccaneers hosted the Bengals:
Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
–After an inconsistent pre-season debut last week, Jameis Winston’s first home game was far more encouraging. Highlighted by an excellent pass down the seam to Russell Shepard early in the second quarter Winston (+1.9) hit on a variety of passes to leave Bucs fans optimistic of a strong rookie campaign for their number one pick.
— After a solid game in run defense last week, rookie linebacker Kwon Alexander (+2.8) was elevated into the starting lineup this week and came up with a strong game both in run defense (+1.2) and in coverage (+1.3). Closing well on short passes, Alexander surrendered only nine yards on his two targets last night.
— As impressive as Winston and running back Doug Martin (+2.1) were last night, questions persist about whether the Bucs offensive line can keep them upright and on the field. Of the 12 Tampa Bay offensive linemen who saw action last night only four (all backups) earned positive overall grades and only three (also backups) earned positive grades in pass protection.
Top five graded players:
1. Kwon Alexander (+2.8)
2. Matthew Masifilo (+2.4)
3. Da’Quan Bowers (+2.2)
4. D.J. Swearinger (+2.2)
5. Doug Martin (+2.1)
— A rough night all round for the Bengals was perfectly encapsulated by the performance of Andy Dalton (-0.7). His two interceptions combined poor play on his part (a wild high miss down the seam to Tyler Eifert) with miscues by others to keep the rough night going (a drop by A.J. Green that led to a pick-six). A.J. McCarron’s NFL debut (-1.5) failed to pressure Dalton’s standing as the starter, but Dalton’s performance did little to allay fears that he has already reached his potential.
— Now two years removed from his torn ACL, last night suggested that Geno Atkins (+4.5) may return to his destructive best for the Bengals in 2015. On 24 snaps he racked up four pressures including a sack early in the second quarter where getting the better of rookie guard Ali Marpet.
— Third-round pick Paul Dawson was a run-stopping machine for TCU last season and he continued that form last night, leading both teams with four stops in spite of playing only 17 snaps (28th most on his own defense). On the Bengals’ goal-line stand at the beginning of the fourth quarter Dawson made the tackle on three of the four downs, including knifing superbly through the line to cut down Dominique Brown (-1.9) on fourth down.
Top five graded players:
1. Geno Atkins (+4.5)
2. Trevor Roach (+3.9)
3. Devon Still (+3.8)
4. Paul Dawson (+3.3)
5. Shiloh Keo (+2.1)