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Bengals manhandle Panthers starting defense

Cedric Benson

Cincinnati Bengals running back Cedric Benson runs for a one-yard touchdown in the first half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2011 in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Tony Tribble)


Cam Newton has a long way to go as a quarterback, but Carolina’s defense has stood out as a bigger problem this preseason.

For the second straight week, a questionable offense has run right through Ron Rivera’s revamped group. Cedric Benson and Bernard Scott helped the Bengals run for 139 yards in the first half alone on the way to building a 24-7 lead. (Last week, Miami dominated Carolina’s defense.)

A strong running game proved to be the ultimate elixir for Andy Dalton: He threw for 130 yards despite misfiring on a few bombs. Carolina’s defense also struggled to mark Bengals rookie A.J. Green, who continually abused veteran Chris Gamble.

Carolina’s defensive tackle group is very weak and the entire team seems to be struggling to pick up Rivera’s scheme.