Here are some observations:
We warned Bengals fans to be patient with rookie quarterback Andy Dalton. He showed solid improvement against Carolina. Dalton connected with A.J. Green for a 40-yard touchdown in the second quarter. It was the first touchdown for both players, who are expected to be a big part of Cincinnati's future. Dalton finished 11-of-17 for 130 yards and a touchdown. He also had a 107.5 passer rating.
Dalton had success because Cincinnati was able to run the football. Tailbacks Cedric Benson and Bernard Scott were both effective. Benson rushed for 68 yards on 16 carries, and Scott added 63 yards on six carries. With a young quarterback, this is the bread and butter of Cincinnati's new West Coast offense.
Turnovers continue to be an issue for the Bengals. Dalton and running back Brian Leonard both lost fumbles Thursday night. Cincinnati's offense needs to take care of the ball better in the regular season. In addition to his fumble, Dalton also has three interceptions and a botched handoff with Benson this preseason.
Cincinnati's needs to be a little more disciplined with their pass rush. Carolina rookie quarterback Cam Newton made some running plays with his feet because Bengals defenders left their lanes. Newton scored his only touchdown on a 16-yard run. Newton also had a 26-yard scramble. Otherwise, Cincinnati's first-team defense played well.
The Browns got good production from backup quarterbacks Seneca Wallace and Jarrett Brown against the Eagles. Both led touchdown drives in the fourth quarter to make the final score somewhat respectable. Brown, a third-stringer, had his best performance of the preseason. He was 4-of-4 for 35 yards, one touchdown and 16 yards rushing.
Browns backup running back Montario Hardesty saw his first game action of the preseason. He recorded five carries for 15 yards. More importantly, Hardesty left the game healthy. Last year, the former second-round draft pick blew out his knee in Cleveland's final preseason game.
Browns quarterback Colt McCoy had his first poor outing of the preseason. McCoy didn't handle the rainy conditions well and had a tough assignment against a motivated Eagles defense. The Pittsburgh Steelers had their way with Philadelphia's star-studded group last week. You knew the Eagles weren't going to play poorly two games in a row. McCoy was 9-of-18 for 89 yards and an interception.
Cleveland's defense didn't play well, either. The Eagles' first team took advantage of turnovers to jump on the Browns' starters by taking a 17-0 lead at halftime. There were some highlights for Cleveland, such as Phil Taylor's sack and forced fumble. But overall, Philadelphia, a Super Bowl contender, showed how much work still needs to be done in Cleveland.