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Chris Evans, Jacques Patrick Take Advantage of Their Opportunity in Bengals First Preseason Game

Two young running backs had impressive debuts for Cincinnati.

Cincinnati opened the preseason with a 19-14 win over the Super Bowl champion Buccaneers on Saturday night.

Most of the starters saw action on the first drive of the game, then went to the sidelines for the remainder of the contest. This allowed young players to get valuable minutes in their quest to earn a roster spot. 

“That’s the beauty of the preseason,” Zac Taylor said after the game. “Get a chance to see how these guys play under the lights. It didn’t appear to be too big for any of these young guys that we have. I thought a lot of guys stood out and that was encouraging to see.”

Joe Mixon finished with one carry and Semaje Perine had three attempts before the running back competition opened up between Chris Evans and Jacques Patrick.

Evans finished with 12 carries for 25 yards and a touchdown. The rookie also caught four passes for 33 yards.

“I thought Chris Evans did some really good things in the pass game,” Taylor said. “[Evans] had some good runs too. Maybe yardage doesn’t show up, but he had some good, tough runs that put us in good situations.”

The sixth-rounder showed quickness and agility. Should he make the final 53-man roster, Evans could develop into a Giovani Bernard-type player with his skillset and ability to catch out of the backfield.

Patrick ran for 71 yards on 15 carries. The second-year player averaged 4.7 yards per carry and longest run was 24 yards.

“Jacques finished the game for us,” Taylor said. “[Patrick] was strong there in 4-minute (offense). That’s the style runner he is. He really wears down a defense that way.”

Patrick's 24-yard run helped seal the deal late in the fourth quarter. He spent last season on the practice squad. Patrick was able to display his strong, downhill running attack for the first time in stripes Saturday night since the preseason was cancelled last summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Taylor was pleased with the performance from the two running backs.

Trayveon Williams was set to take snaps at running back, but didn't travel with the team after suffering a hamstring injury during Thursday’s practice. Taylor said the team will evaluate Williams’ status this week.

The Bengals head to the nation’s capital to take on the Washington Football Team on Friday, Aug. 20. This will be another opportunity for Evans, Patrick, and Williams (if healthy) to prove their worth and continue to fight for a spot on the final 53-man roster. 

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