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Halftime Observations: Chris Evans Flashes Potential, Bengals Trail Cardinals 23-9

Cincinnati's starters aren't playing on Friday night.

CINCINNATI — The Bengals trail the Cardinals 23-9 at halftime in their preseason opener. 

Guys like Joe Burrow, Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and other starters are inactive, but young players like running back Chris Evans have flashed their potential. 

Here are some halftime observations.

Bad Offensive Line

Jackson Carman had a rough first half. The second-year lineman was bull rushed multiple times and struggled in pass protection. 

He wasn't the only one. The Bengals' line struggled for most of the first half, giving up one sack and three quarterback hits. 

Both Jake Browning and Brandon Allen were regular pressure. Allen left the game in the first quarter and is being evaluated for a concussion.  

Jackson Carman and backup offensive line struggling. Jackson Carman called for holding. Hasn't been a good night for him up to this point.

Chris Evans Season

Evans flashed his potential on the Bengals' first drive. He had a great cut at the line of scrimmage and bolted 65 yards downfield for a huge gain.

Unfortunately for the Bengals, Thad Moss was called for holding, which nullified the big play and derailed the drive. It was a questionable call at best, but Evans was able to flash his potential. 

He also had a 5-yard touchdown run called back due to a holding penalty and a 41-yard kickoff return. 

Young Defense Flashes

Zach Carter and Jeff Gunter both made plays during the first half. Carter had two tackles and a pass defensed. Gunter got pressure on the quarterback and had one pass defensed.

Safety Dax Hill also had two passes defensed, including what was nearly a highlight-reel interception in the endzone.

Hill looked like he jumped off of a trampoline to get his hands on a fade pass from Trace McSorely.

Money Mac

Evan McPherson picked up where he left off last season. The second-year kicker was 3-for-3 on field goal attempts in the first half, including a 58-yard field goal.

Clark Harris was the long snapper and Drue Chrisman was the holder on the long kick.

McPherson followed that up with a 56-yarder with Harris snapping and Kevin Huber holding. 

Taylor Time

Trent Taylor had a great first half, compiling four receptions for 74 yards. He had a great 36-yard over-the-shoulder catch in the second quarter. 

Jake Browning and Allen both threw the ball well, despite being under constant pressure with the offensive line struggling. 


Allen suffered a concussion in the first quarter. Tight end Mitchell Wilcox suffered a left ankle injury after being rolled up on in a pile and has been declared out. 

The team was already without Cam Taylor-Britt. The rookie cornerback was inactive due to a core muscle injury

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