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3 things we learned about the Bengals

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OAKLAND, Calif. — The Cincinnati Bengals started fast and didn’t let up Sunday, racing to a 33-13 season-opening victory against the Oakland Raiders and ruining coach Jack Del Rio’s debut on Sunday at O.co Coliseum.

Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton threw two touchdown passes, running back Jeremy Hill ran for two scores, and tight end Tyler Eifert caught nine passes for 104 yards and two touchdowns, all career highs.

The Bengals built a 33-0 third-quarter lead and went on to beat the Raiders in Oakland for the first time in franchise history after nine losses.

“You want to start fast and play well,” Dalton said. “I’m happy for the team. It kind of sets the tone for the season.”

For Del Rio and the Raiders, Sunday’s opener was a nightmare.

Not only did they lose the game, but they also lost quarterback Derek Carr to a right hand injury with under six minutes remaining in the first half. X-rays were negative, but Del Rio did not update Carr’s status for Oakland’s next game, against Baltimore.

“That’s a very disappointing, embarrassing effort,” Del Rio said. “I take full responsibility. We’ll get it turned around and corrected.”

Matt McGloin replaced Carr and connected on 23 of 31 passes for 142 yards and two touchdowns, both to fullback Marcel Reece in the fourth quarter, and one interception.

What we learned about the Bengals

1. Tight end Tyler Eifert should make a huge impact this season. The 6-foot-6, 250-pound Eifert caught nine passes for 104 yards and two touchdowns — all career highs — in the Bengals’ 33-13 rout of Oakland. Eifert, who spent most of last season on injured reserve, gives quarterback Andy Dalton another dangerous weapon and a nightmare matchup. “It was big,” Dalton said of Eifert’s performance. “We knew that we were going to have some chances with some of the looks that we were getting. He was in the right spot, right time and he made some really good plays for us. That’s what we expect of him and what we missed last year. Happy to have him back.”

2. Cornerback Adam Jones can do more than cover receivers. He can actually tackle, too. Jones made a team-high 10 tackles, all of them solo on Sunday against Oakland. “The ball came my way today a lot,” Jones said. “I did a good job in tackling. We’ve been harping on that all week. Coach (Marvin) Lewis is making sure you get in the right position in practice without hitting people.”

3. Playing flag football could end up biting the Bengals. Strong safety George Iloka and cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick drew taunting penalties in what was a chippy game against the Raiders. Cornerback Adam Jones was penalized for unnecessary roughness when he got into a scuffle with Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper. “We’ve got to be above that,” Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said. “We knew it was going to be that way. It’s opening day and things like that. We’ve got to play with better poise throughout the football game. We’ve got to walk away. We’re supposed to make plays. This is NFL football. You’re supposed to make plays, walk away and go back to the huddle. We can’t have two (taunting) penalties we had in that situation today. Because those things can change the game and they can really hurt you.”

Etc.:

–TE Tyler Eifert caught nine passes for 104 yards and two touchdowns, all career highs, Sunday in a 33-13 victory against Oakland. Eifert spent most of last season on injured reserve with a separated shoulder and dislocated elbow.

–CB Adam Jones had a team-high 10 tackles, all of them unassisted, Sunday against Oakland. He also forced a fumble and defended a pass.

–QB Andy Dalton completed 25 of 34 passes for 269 yards and two touchdowns Sunday in a 33-13 victory against Oakland. Dalton threw for 202 yards in the first half when Cincinnati built a 24-0 lead.


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