PHOENIX, Ariz. - The aftermath of the Bengals' 19-13 victory over the Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in the third preseason game had all the feel of a dress rehearsal. After the Bengals' first teamers finished off their 40-9 run against their foes in the last three weeks with a 13-3 half-time lead, no one is thinking about Thursday's 7 p.m. preseason finale at Paul Brown Stadium (11:35 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 12) against the Colts.
While the first-team defense hasn't allowed a touchdown, the first-team offense hasn't turned it over.
"I'm very confident in what we have," said quarterback Andy Dalton after a sensible, competent 13 of 21 effort on a night he had bad field position against a top defense. "The guys on this team, the way we've been playing, I think we're ready to go for the opener."
INJURY ROUNDUP: Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said Pro Bowl Will linebacker Vontaze Burfict will be able to play in that opener Sept. 7 in Baltimore. He hurt his hamstring on the first series.
After not having a player carted off the field in the preseason, they had three backups wheel off the field in the fourth quarter. Guard Trey Hopkins had a shin injury and he was in a boot after the game but it doesn't look to be a long-range thing. It's unknown how serious the injury is to guard-center T.J. Johnson. Wide receiver James Wright suffered a concussion and it's believed he stayed overnight in Arizona. Running back Cedric Peerman didn't get carted off in the fourth, but he had to come off with a hip injury that looks like it won't keep him out of the opener. Earlier in the game defensive tackle Devon Still left with a hamstring injury.
HUE REACT: It was not pretty offensively. The Bengals had too many penalties and not enough yards on the ground in the first half. But with the Cards swarming the run, the Bengals held on for two field-goal drives that chewed nearly 10 minutes of the second quarter that gave them a 13-3 half-time lead.
"That's the National Football League," said offensive coordinator Hue Jackson. "When it's not there, you have to take care of the ball…I thought our guys played with poise and the quarterback was outstanding. Anytime you don't turn it over, you have a chance to win."
WHO DEY: Asked what it means to win a preseason game after going 0-2, Lewis smiled and said, "The rookies got to do the Who Dey cheer. That's really about the only significance."
LEWIS ON MIKE: It must have felt funny for Lewis. For the first time in the 12 seasons he has coached the Bengals, president Mike Brown wasn't at the game while being treated for a "minor medical situation.'
"The good thing is everybody acted very quicky to get things headed in the right direction very fast," Lewis said. "He obviously didn't want anybody to know about it. We're happy everything is going in the right direction."
SLANTS AND SCREENS:
Two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Geno Atkins made his first appearance since tearing his ACL Halloween Night in Miami and he looked a little rusty, but he also had couple of good rushes. He played 13 snaps (about a third of the first team snaps) and was credited with a tackle. Lewis said they played him for a couple of series in base and then used him only in nickel, the pass-rushing defense...
Rookie right end Will Clarke got his first pro sack early in the second half and second-year linebacker Sean Porter, in just his second preseason game, ended the game wiith his first interception. Porter played 27 percent of the snaps and figures to get much more Thursday...