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First half impressions: Week 2

Here are some quick observations from the first half of today’s contest with the Browns. Cincinnati leads 17-10 at the break.

Adam Jones reminded us once again that he’s the Bengals best punt return when healthy. Prior to this season, he’d played just 13 games and had seven returns under his belt with Cincinnati. We got a glimpse this afternoon when Jones took the opening punt of the game back 81 yards for a score.

There’s a new 85 in town. Armon Binns has four catches for 58 yards and done well to beat Cleveland’s press coverage. Green has held his own well but hasn’t gotten the necessary delivery from quarterback Andy Dalton.

— Our secondary needs to get healthy. The D-line is getting solid pressure on Brandon Weeden but Cincinnati’s cover men, currently without without Dre Kirkpatrick and Jason Allen, aren’t able to hold things down for the line to get there.

— The front seven just isn’t getting the job done on running plays. When three of your top four tacklers are defensive backs (Terrance Newman, 5 tackles; Nate Clements, 4; Reggie Nelson, 4), you’re having some issues up front. More on one of the major issues below.

— Cincinnati needs to move the chains on third down. They were 0-for-5 on third downs in the first half.

Here are three more quick hitters: The good, bad and ugly

THE GOOD: Marvin Lewis hasn’t wasted a challenge and went for a 4th-and-short from midfield. It’s not a great sign when that’s your “good” for the first half, but aside from Jones’ return, there hasn’t been a ton for Bengals fans to cheer about.

THE BAD: Andy Dalton. I’m a big fan of the Red Rifle, but he’s been way off today, not getting the ball out as quickly as we’re accustomed to and missing throws (like back-to-back would-be touchdowns) that he’s more than capable of making.

THE UGLY Rey Maualuga. If not for Thomas Howard’s injury, there would be louder calls for Vontaze Burfict to start in the middle. Maualuga continues to disappoint, notching just three assisted tackles and offering no resistance vs. a minimal block attempt on Richardson’s long TD run.

We’ll continue to post updates and analysis on Twitter during the game. Follow @BengalsGab for more.

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