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Quick hits: First-team D plays well


» Most of the numbers were brutal, starting with the quarterback ratings. Andy Dalton checked in at 16.4, Bruce Gradkowski with a 28.0 and Dan LeFevour finished at 52.1 for a total of 18.4. The Bengals passed for as many yards as the Jets rushed (156). But there were bright spots.

» Head Coach Marvin Lewis praised the first-team defense that held one of the league's top rushing teams to 16 yards on 11 carries in the first half.

» Safety Reggie Nelson has emerged as one of the most consistent players on defense and had a tackle for a loss and a pass defensed against the Jets.

» Safety Chris Crocker on the defense:
"As a unit I think we did a good job tonight of taking to the game what we did in practice. We got off the field on third down and we responded to sudden change. We are progressing; we are coming along but we're not there yet. We've got a lot of new guys."

» The offense knows it's clearly not there yet. It has scored one touchdown in two games and Dalton's longest throw to a wide receiver is 11 yards, and the Bengals didn't run the ball Sunday night as well as they did in the opener, finishing with 50 yards on 24 carries.

» Even rookie receiver A.J. Green had a bad night after catching everything all training camp. The first pass that came to him Sunday he deflected for a Jets interception. Another pass went through his hands in the red zone, and he dropped a third-down pass that would have kept alive the last Bengals drive in the first half.

"I've played in the rain before. It wasn't that, it was a lack of concentration," Green said. "I should have had all of them. Those are catches I make with my eyes closed. It was really frustrating. It doesn't happen to me much."

» Dalton also didn't use the rain as an excuse, but he said there were times early in the game where he couldn't get the grip on the ball that he wanted. A prime example was his second interception to wide receiver Andre Caldwell down the middle of the field. He overthrew Caldwell and the ball was picked off by Jets safety Jim Leonhard.

"The ball didn't come out of my had the way I wanted it, but I'm not going to use it as an excuse," Dalton said.

Asked if the wet ball was a factor on the fumbled handoff to running back Cedric Benson that lost 19 yards, Dalton said, "I don't know what happened but I've got to make sure I get the ball in there."

» The one positive Dalton took out of the game is he felt he was able to make the proper checks at the line of scrimmage against the different looks from the Jets. For instance, on his 3rd-and-7 completion to Jordan Shipley that set up Brian Leonard's one-yard touchdown run, Dalton said he changed the play at the line.

"I feel like I was able to get us in the right protections and the right plays against them," he said.  

But Dalton clearly is frustrated by not being able to score points. "It's very frustrating," he said. "You're a competitor. You want to score every time you have the ball. We know it's not good enough. We're not satisfied where we're at. We'll take it, we'll watch it, we'll get better and get ready for next week."

» Left tackle Andrew Whitworth thought the first offensive line's pass protection was much improved and he took heart that it came against the endless amount of Jets blitzes. 

"To keep (Dalton) clean and not let him get touched was a positive," he said. "They blitzed from who knows where, so that has to be seen as a positive. If there was anything we wanted to do, it's run the ball better."

» Whitworth said he's not worried about scoring just one touchdown, but he did say he's worried about the number of turnovers. The Bengals now have six turnovers in their two preseason games.

"We can't keep putting our defense in bad positions like that," Whitworth said. "We've got to stop the turnovers and make sure we don't put the defense in tough situations."

» Whitworth was amazed at how badly the Bengals offense has started the last two weeks. Last week in the first five minutes the Bengals were down 14-0 and had two turnovers. On Sunday night in the first quarter, Dalton missed his first five passes, two were intercepted, a fumbled handoff lost 19 yards, and they had three pre-snap penalties. But Whitworth insists that the offense took a step forward.

"To start the way we did and go forward to get a scoring drive, I thought that was pretty good," he said. He also quipped about the two rough starts. "I was thinking, 'Man, we'll start the season off great, we've had two starts as horrible as they could possibly be.' We'll have them out of the way in the preseason."

» Running back Bernard Scott (hamstring) missed his second game even though he returned to practice last week and was listed as active Sunday. Tight end Jermaine Gresham (ankle) was also active despite practicing once last week, but he also didn't play.

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