Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker
The Cincinnati Bengals earned their first win of the preseason with a 7-6 victory over the New England Patriots. Although it was just an exhibition, the Bengals showed a little bit of everything, including a surprise place kicker.
Here are a few notes and observations:
And that surprise kicker was star receiver Chad Ochocinco. Kicker Shayne Graham had a sore groin and Ochocinco, who kicked in high school, is Cincinnati's emergency replacement. With no pressure, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis decided to rest Graham and let Ochocinco have some extra fun. His form was surprisingly good and the kick wound up being the decisive point for the Bengals.
Consider the backup quarterback race over as free-agent pickup J.T. O'Sullivan put forth his second straight solid effort against the Patriots. O'Sullivan, who started in place of the injured Carson Palmer (ankle), completed 10 of 13 passes for 141 yards and a touchdown. For the entire preseason, O'Sullivan is 19 of 24 for 241 yards and two touchdowns. Jordan Palmer threw for 45 yards Thursday and likely will be Cincinnati's No. 3 quarterback.
Cincinnati's first-team defense is doing a good job of keeping teams out of the end zone. The Bengals are giving up passing yards -- Tom Brady had 57 of New England's 228 total yards through the air -- but all that amounted to was a pair of field goals. After recording just 17 sacks last season, it's also noticeable that Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer is trying to turn up his blitzes. Cincinnati had four sacks total against the Pats.
One of those four sacks came from Bengals starting defensive end Robert Geathers. Cincinnati has to be happy to see Geathers applying pressure, because he's coming off microfracture knee surgery and needs the preseason to get his legs under him. A healthy Geathers and fellow defensive end Antwan Odom will be key this year to improving Cincinnati's pass rush.
Receiver Chris Henry continues to impress. Henry caught a touchdown pass for the second straight week and leads the Bengals with 11 total receptions for 155 yards in the preseason. Despite his status as a No. 3 receiver, Henry could be a fantasy sleeper in Cincinnati's pass-happy offense.