CINCINNATI -- The Cincinnati Bengals lost a preseason game on Sunday night at Jacksonville and suffered yet another key injury. But, the explosiveness displayed by the Bengals on both sides of the ball in the first half showed the potential of this year's team.
The offense under first-year coordinator, but long-time quarterbacks coach, Ken Zampese was an efficient machine on Sunday behind Andy Dalton's decisive pre-snap adjustments.
"I feel like we do a good job of having good schemes and seeing good looks," Dalton said. "I feel like it's a big part of what we do with this offense. Anytime you feel like you can get the team in a good play, we'll have (good results)."
The offensive line has taken a hit with Jake Fisher and Cedric Ogbuehi sidelined by injury. Russell Bodine and Clint Boling, however, twice helped spring big plays with downfield blocks, one a 28-yard screen the Jeremy Hill and another a 19-yard TD to Giovani Bernard.
Dalton was 6-of-10 for 77 yards and a touchdown. His backup A.J. McCarron passed for 107 yards and a score.
Cincinnati built a 21-3 lead before the Jaguars rallied for a 26-21 win, which did little to diminish the performance by the Bengals' first-teamers.
What did take some luster off Sunday night's game were minor injuries to wide receiver A.J. Green and cornerback Adam Jones, and a more serious injury to running back and special teams stalwart Cedric Peerman who suffered a fractured forearm.
"You have to worry about things that you can control," Dalton said. "But it's unfortunate that some guys have gotten hurt. I feel confident with what we have. We have to get ready for Sept. 11 (at New York Jets)."
The defense appeared ready for the season opener as well, forcing three punts and limiting the Jaguars to just 90 yards.
With the injuries piling up and the offense and defense looking season-ready on Sunday, it's likely most if not all of the Bengals' starters will watch from the sideline on Thursday night against the Colts (7:30 p.m.)
"We're pressing for greatness," defensive lineman Carlos Dunlap said.
NOTES: The Bengals are mourning the passing of longtime groundskeeper Darian Daily who died on Saturday of an apparent heart attack while painting a high school football field. Daily, 45, had been the head groundskeeper at Paul Brown Stadium since 2003. "The news of Darian's passing is tragic to the entire Bengals' organization, and also I know to his colleagues with Hamilton County," a Bengals spokesman said. "Darian was not only a very hard worker, someone who had earned high honors for his work, he was a great individual." ... RB Cedric Peerman suffered a fractured left forearm and some reports suggest the injury could threaten his season. "Obviously I don't want to speculate," coach Marvin Lewis said, "but we have some great guys that can step in. Obviously he's done a great job for us and maybe guys at other positions will step up. It just changes how we go about things."