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Bengals starters play longer than expected in nightmarish game

In theory, it was only supposed to be a two-drive, one-quarter kind of night for Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals' starting offense.

One week after marching 80 plays for a touchdown in a brilliant one-drive performance in the preseason-opening win, Dalton's unit had trouble moving the ball and doing anything of consequence in Monday night's 25-11 loss at Tampa Bay.

After three drives and one full quarter of action, Dalton's first-team offense lost two yards. So, in order to generate something it could be proud of, the unit had to go back out there and keep going out there until something more positive happened. By that point in the night it was about creating a rhythm that had been nonexistent from the start of the game.

That in-sync play never really came. Dalton played into halftime, leading an offense that picked up a mere 49 yards.

The first-team offense followed its lackluster first three drives with turnovers on the next three series. All three turnovers came across a seven-play span that barely left Dalton and his crew any time on the field.

Now we know why coach Marvin Lewis seldom mentions how much he expects his starters to play in preseason games.

Typically 25 snaps are a good target for starters to have in the year's first couple of preseason games. That's exactly the neighborhood where the Bengals' offensive starters' snap counts settled, albeit a few series later than anticipated.

According to the NFL's Game Statistics and Information System, here's how the Bengals' complete snap counts broke down Monday:

OFFENSE

QB Andy Dalton (27 snaps), WR A.J. Green (27), OG Clint Boling (27), C Russell Bodine (27), OT Eric Winston (27), OG Kevin Zeitler (27), TE Tyler Eifert (27), OT Andrew Whitworth (26), OT Dan France (25), QB AJ McCarron (24), OG T.J. Johnson (24), OT Tanner Hawkinson (24), OT Matt O'Donnell (24), WR Mario Alford (22), WR Mohamed Sanu (21), TE Tyler Kroft (18), C Jake Smith (17), H-back Ryan Hewitt (16), RB Giovani Bernard (15), WR Jake Kumerow (15), WR Denarius Moore (15), RB Rex Burkhead (12), WR Marvin Jones (12), TE C.J. Uzomah (11), RB Jeremy Hill (11), RB Cedric Peerman (10), WR Brandon Tate (9), WR Greg Little (9), OG Chris Jasperse (7), RB James Wilder Jr. (4), FB Mark Weisman (1).

DEFENSE

CB Josh Shaw (50), DE Will Clarke (50), DL Marcus Hardison (49), CB Chris Lewis-Harris (44), S Shiloh Keo (43), S Shawn Williams (43), DE Margus Hunt (41), S Derron Smith (35), LB Marquis Flowers (34), LB Chris Carter (33), LB Vincent Rey (32), DT DeShawn Williams (32), DT Devon Still (31), CB Troy Hill (30), CB Dre Kirkpatrick (30), S Reggie Nelson (30), CB Adam Jones (30), LB Nico Johnson (26), DE Wallace Gilberry (26), DE Carlos Dunlap (26), S George Iloka (25), DT Geno Atkins (24), DT Domata Peko (22), LB A.J. Hawk (22), LB Rey Maualuga (21), LB Trevor Roach (19), DE Sam Montgomery (18), LB P.J. Dawson (17), LB Jayson DiManche (12), DT Kwame Geathers (11), LB Emmanuel Lamur (10), S Erick Dargan (9), CB Leon Hall (9), S Floyd Raven (6), DT Kalafitoni Pole (6).

SPECIAL TEAMS

Keo (15), Flowers (14), Shaw (14), Shawn Williams (14), DiManche (11), Peerman (11), Lewis-Harris (11), Hunt (11), Burkhead (10), Kroft (10), Johnson (10), Carter (9), Tate (8), Troy Hill (7), Derron Smith (7), Dawson (7), P Kevin Huber (7), LS Clark Harris (6), Raven (6), Kirkpatrick (6), Clarke (6), Wilder (6), Little (6), Alford (5), Hewitt (5), Rey (5), Lamur (5), K Tom Obarski (4), Peko (4), Nelson (4), Still (4), Hardison (3), Adam Jones (3), Hawk (3), Maualuga (3), Roach (3), Dargan (3), Hall (2), Iloka (2), Bernard (2), Winston (1), Bodine (1), Boling (1), Zeitler (1), Whitworth (1), Kumerow (1), Uzomah (1), Weisman (1), DeShawn Williams (1), Gilberry (1), Atkins (1), TE Matt Lengel (1), WR Michael Bennett (1).

Bengals who did not play: K Mike Nugent, QB Keith Wenning, QB Josh Johnson, WR Tevin Reese, CB Darqueze Dennard, CB Brandon Ghee, RB Terrell Watson, TE John Peters, LB Vontaze Burfict, LB Sean Porter, OG Trey Hopkins, OT Cedric Ogbuehi, OT Andre Smith, OT Jake Fisher, WR Demarcus Lawrence, WR Onterio McCalebb, DE Michael Johnson, DT Pat Sims, DT Brandon Thompson.