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Friday, August 24, 2012
Observation deck: Bengals-Packers

By Jamison Hensley

If the Bengals learned anything from their series of breakdowns in Thursday night's 27-13 preseason loss to Green Bay, it's that they have to step up their game in the red zone.

Cincinnati's defense failed to contain the quarterback again, allowing Aaron Rodgers to run for touchdowns of 12 and 5 yards in the first quarter. Defensive end Michael Johnson ran too far upfield to create a lane on the first touchdown, and defensive end Jamaal Anderson did the same thing on the second score.

The Bengals' starting offense struggled the entire game, especially when it had first-and-goal from the 1-yard line. Instead of punching the ball into the end zone, Cincinnati lost 11 yards. Andy Dalton threw an incompletion on first down (no one was open), Cedric Peerman lost 2 yards on second down (center Kyle Cook was pushed back to throw off the play) and Dalton was sacked on third down when Erik Walden came unblocked from the left side. The Bengals were 26th in red zone offense last season.

The first-team offense managed a first down on five of seven drives. That came against a Green Bay defense that ranked last in the NFL last season.

"I don’t think this game defines how we’re going to be during the year. It’s a preseason game," Dalton said after the game. "We’ve got to find ways to get motivated and get going. This film will be good to look at and see areas where we need to improve.”

Here are some other observations from the Bengals' third preseason game: