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What we learned: Thursday night (Preseason Week Three)

A.J. Green, Jermaine Gresham

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (18) and tight end Jermaine Gresham (84) celebrate after Green caught a 40 yard touchdown pass in the first half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2011 in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/David Kohl)


America’s longest running and highest rated preseason recap post is back for another week.

Bengals 24, Panthers 13

1. On a list of problems for the Panthers, Cam Newton’s quarterback play is fairly low. Their defense was steamrolled by the Bengals and the offensive line couldn’t protect Newton, who did have some impressive runs.

2. Teams are going to run on Carolina’s questionable front seven until they stop someone.

3. Bengals rookie Andy Dalton’s numbers were strong and the Bengals starters racked up 24 points in one half. We continue to worry about Dalton’s vertical passing; he missed A.J. Green open deep a few times. Still, this was a confidence builder for Dalton.

4. Green was the best rookie on the field. The Bengals got a keeper with their rookie receiver.

5. Michael Johnson has been a terror for the Bengals rushing the passer this preseason. He worked D’Brickashaw Ferguson last week, and this time it was Jordan Gross. A former Pro Bowler, Gross has struggled all month.

Eagles 24, Browns 14

1. The Eagles offensive line struggled to protect Michael Vick, but Philly still led 17-0 at halftime against a banged-up Browns team. Vick only threw for 98 yards on 18 attempts.

2. Philadelphia’s defensive line and secondary both showed off their depth Thursday with strong outings. It was especially impressive against a Browns offense that had been hot.

3. Cleveland’s first round pick Phil Taylor dominated up front at defensive tackle. A good sign for the Browns on a dreary night.

4. LeSean was the dominant McCoy. The Eagles back caught seven passes for 69 yards. He’s quietly in line for a monster year.

Ravens 34, Redskins 31

1. Rex Grossman got more meaningful time with the starters than John Beck. They both finished strong after shaky starts, handling Baltimore’s blitzes well. Not a decisive victory either way.

2. Washington’s running game and Tim Hightower was the story once again. Hightower scampered for a 37-yard touchdown, capping a strong preseason run. (The starters won’t play much next week.)

3. Baltimore rookie wideout Torrey Smith keeps dropping passes. It’s a good thing Baltimore traded for Lee Evans, who pulled in a 35-yard score on a go route.

4. The Ravens’ entire starting offense doesn’t look quite ready for the season despite the final score. There were lot of communication problems on the offensive line. Somewhere, the Steelers were watching and smiling.