In the recently renamed Paycor Stadium, the Cincinnati Bengals lost to the Arizona Cardinals 36-23 in the preseason opener. But provided you’re a reasonable football fan, you know better than looking at a preseason scoreboard.

Although preseason games have a scoreboard just like regular season games, individual performances are what matter. And today, that’s what we’ll recap from the first Bengals’ action since the Super Bowl.

We’ll start at the offensive line, where the most powerful message of the night was sent.

Bengals send a strong message to projected starter

During the week, HC Zac Taylor let us know the plan was for left guard Jack Carman to play a significant amount of time. Although Carman leads Cordell Volson in one of the most discussed training camp battles, the fact that Carman was one of the few projected starters to play and for him to have to go for an entire half sent a strong message.

His lead in the battle is slim. Carman settled down in the second quarter but had a few bad plays in the first one. He struggled to get leverage and to set down his anchor.

In one particular snap, the offensive line gave up a sack and while it wasn’t on him, he was pushed back, taking away any possibility for Brandon Allen to escape. Later, he failed to pick up a tackle/end stunt, allowing the QB hit.

In the second half, Volson had a solid showing. It’s too early to draw big conclusions, but it’s something to monitor if this trend continues.

Dax Hill will be FUN for the Bengals’ defense

Hill was everything Bengals fans wanted on Friday night. The rookie showed the range that made him a first-round safety, closing in on plays and always being near the football.

The best play from the rookie came at the end of the first quarter when he went airborne, arms fully extended for the pick. Hill wasn’t able to bring it down but it was a freakish play for the versatile defensive back.

Later in the game, he was involved in a big hit near the goal line. Although he didn’t finish the tackle, Hill showed his physicality too.

The Bengals coaching staff has to get him involved early in the season, Jessie Bates or not. Expect the defense to show plenty of three-safety looks throughout the year.

Other Notes

  • Jeff Gunter made a statement early with two productive plays. He displayed good motor throughout the game and was credited with a sack later in the game. deep into the third quarter.
  • Trent Taylor had a productive night racking up four catches for 74 yards. His longest catch went for 36 yards. His most impressive play:

  • After Brandon Allen left the game to get checked for a concussion, Jake Browning had himself a very good showing. He displayed his ability to escape the pocket and throw on the run. You have to wonder if he can spark a QB2 battle in Cincinnati in the next couple of weeks. His final stat line: 14/25, 192 yards.

  • Evan McPherson is back! The beloved kicker made one attempt from 58 yards and another good for 56. Bengals fans in attendance were loving it.
  • If you tell someone who didn’t tune into the game that Chris Evans had a great game, they’d laugh at you. His stat line shows eight carries for negative three yards. But he had an exciting game, including an impressive nine-yard catch and a run for 63 yards that got called back due to a questionable holding. His 41-yard kickoff return put an exclamation point to his notable performance.
  • HUGE game for Kendric Pryor, who finished with four catches, 89 yards, and a TD catch near the end of the game in a throw from rookie QB Drew Plitt.

Featured image via Sam Greene-USA TODAY Sports