The Cincinnati Bengals and Atlanta Falcons both have Super Bowl aspirations in 2013, so Thursday Night Football's matchup between the two teams was a peek into a premier matchup for the upcoming NFL season.
Unfortunately, the starters didn't provide many fireworks. Andy Dalton and Matt Ryan both only saw limited action early in the game. Ryan was the more efficient of the two starting quarterbacks, going 6-for-9 for 89 yards. The Falcons took a 3-0 lead as a result.
Josh Johnson entered for the Bengals and the offense took off. He did most of the damage with his legs, rushing four times for 64 yards. He also completed nine of his 16 pass attempts for 100 yards and a touchdown.
A pair of rookie running backs also got things going for the Bengals. Second-round pick Giovani Bernard only averaged 2.8 yards per carry but scored a touchdown from the one-yard line. Rex Burkhead helped keep the offense moving in the second half, rushing nine times for 52 yards.
The Falcons showed a bit of a lack of depth in the second half and Cincinnati managed to pull away for a 24-point win. The final score of 34-10 was a bit lopsided, but the game was even until the second- and third-string players began to dominate the game.
In other Falcons news, Brian Banks, who spent five years in prison, got on the field in the second half. He has reportedly been progressing well during training camp and will be battling for a roster spot.
When the lights turn on in the regular season, the Falcons will be putting up a better fight. Roddy White and Julio Jones combined for one catch on the night, which figures to be a rare occurrence once the games count.