Three days after expressing his frustration with what he deemed to be a poor practice, Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt came up with the walk-off game-winner in the team’s second “Red-Zone Lockout” period of training camp.
Bengals Defense Unseats Offense at the Buzzer To End Practice
The lockout drill awards seven points to the offense for a touchdown and seven points to the defense for a turnover or no score. If the offense kicks a field goal, it gets three, and the defense gets four. With one possession remaining, the offense led 16-12.
On the first play, quarterback Jake Browning took a deep shot for Ja’Marr Chase, only to have Taylor-Britt pick it off for a 19-16 victory.
— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) August 16, 2023
“I think everybody saw I was pissed off (Sunday),” Taylor-Britt said. “I came back and got right, just tried to hone in on some more things and just build those blocks and try not to mess up on the same stuff.”
“It felt good,” he said. “It’s competition, and we go at it every day. Today was my day.”
The thing about the lockout drill is that it not only boosts the intensity for that period of practice, but it bleeds into the entire afternoon. Nothing rose to the level we saw in the first practice between Orlando Brown Jr. and Trey Hendrickson or the dustups in last week’s joint practice with the Packers, but there was more jawing and tugging Wednesday than we’ve seen on most days.
“The coaches know how to get our competitive juices going, and that Red-Zone Lockout is one of the things we really look forward to,” cornerback Mike Hilton said.
“It was spirited,” center Ted Karras said. “The defense got the best of us today, though, so I’m not super thrilled. We’ll have to wait til next week to get them back.”
The first offensive series ended when Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard sacked Browning on third down, resulting in an Evan McPherson field goal.
The star on the second series was rookie seventh-round cornerback DJ Ivey, whose leaping pass breakup in the corner of the end zone on a fade for rookie Andrei Iosivas forced McPheson to kick another field goal.
“They were only a few yards from the end zone, and he was a single receiver to that side, so I knew if the ball was coming, it was coming to me and coming out hot,” said Ivey, who was mobbed and congratulated by his teammates.
“It definitely feels good to have their support,” he added. “After you make a play like that, when they come and congratulate you, it feels amazing.”
The offense converted their third series into a touchdown when Browning hit Tee Higgins for a score one play after a deep touchdown to Tyler Boyd was negated when the coaches ruled Hendrickson would have had a sack before the ball was launched.
Nice adjustment by Tee on deep TD from Browning in red zone lockout period. pic.twitter.com/HIo93bxCCN
— Jay Morrison (@ByJayMorrison) August 16, 2023
The fourth series ended with another McPherson field goal, this time from 57 yards and with plenty to spare.
And the fifth ended after one play, drawing the defense even after the offense won the first lockout period back on Aug. 3.
“It’s a competition. We’re keeping score,” linebacker Logan Wilson said. “You’re not necessarily fresh, so to save that for late in practice, it’s a good competition. Obviously, as a defense, we don’t want them to score at all. It was a good day for us on defense.”
How competitive was it?
After Taylor-Britt hauled in the interception, Hilton ran up to the offensive players, including most of the bigger ones on the offensive line, and did a little dance while placing his finger and thumb in the shape of an “L” on his helmet.
“I didn’t know you actually saw that,” Hilton said when asked about it. “But yeah, it’s just getting the offense riled up. They know when one of my guys make a play, they’re gonna hear 21 talkin’. I just thrive on it.”
Bengals receiver Tyler Boyd may not have liked it, but he couldn’t take umbrage.
“No issue with that,” Boyd said. “They deserve that one. They made a great play at the end. It was a nice walk-off. I can’t really say anything about that.”