LANDOVER, Md. – Rookie running back Jaret Patterson did a little bit of everything and scored the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter in Washington’s 17-13 preseason victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on Friday night.
Patterson, an undrafted free agent from Buffalo, ran for 71 yards, caught three passes for 25 yards and had a 37-yard kickoff return. His 1-yard scoring plunge was Washington’s only touchdown. Dustin Hopkins had three field goals for Washington (1-1).
Patterson, who is listed at 5-foot-9, insists that he uses his smaller stature as a positive as he fights to make the roster.
“I feel like my size is an advantage,” Patterson said. “I can hide behind the big offensive linemen. Just hiding behind those guys and having a low center of gravity. ... I want to keep improving and show that I belong here.”
Coach Ron Rivera gave Patterson time early and often and liked what he saw.
“He’s an explosive, dynamic young back,” Rivera said.
“We gave him some opportunities with the first bunch and he did a nice job with that and then when the second bunch was in there he really showed his ability.”
Cincinnati (1-1) held out quarterback Joe Burrow for the second week in a row and the offense struggled. Burrow, the first selection in the 2020 draft, started 10 games last season before a season-ending left knee injury at Washington in Week 11.
Brandon Allen started in his place and played through the first drive of the second half, finishing 8 of 17 for 70 yards. The Bengals were 0 for 6 on third downs in the first half and finished 4 of 13.
Ryan Fitzpatrick played the first four series for Washington before making way for Taylor Heinicke. Fitzpatrick was 7 of 13 for 96 yards with most of that coming on two big plays. The veteran connected with Logan Thomas on the first play of the game for 28 yards and found rookie Dyami Brown for a 29-yarder just before the end of the first quarter. Brown’s catch set up Hopkins’ 34-yard field goal. It was the first points for Washington’s first-team offense through two preseason games. Heinicke finished 11 of 13 for 80 yards, and Kyle Allen wrapped up for Washington.
Allen capped off an eight-play, 64-yard drive with a 1-yard run to give Cincinnati (1-1) a 10-6 lead just after halftime. Washington looked as it recovered a fumble on the 1 but safety Darrick Forrest was called for unnecessary roughness hit when he knocked the ball loose on Allen’s 19-yard completion to Trenton Irwin. The Bengals kept possession and scored on the next play.
Kyle Shurmur and Eric Dungey both got second-half time under center for the Bengals.
Bengals kicker Evan McPherson connected from 37 and 50 yards.
Bengals coach Zac Taylor was non-committal on Burrow’s status for Cincinnati’s final preseason game.
Cincinnati rookie wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase — the fifth pick in the draft from LSU — dropped a third-down pass on each of the Bengals’ first three drives. His drops on the second and third possessions would have resulted in first downs for an offense that mustered a total of two in the first half. He finished without a catch.
BACK ON TRACK
Hopkins went 3 for 3 the week after going 0 for 2 in a loss to New England. Hopkins, Washington’s kicker since 2015, made a career-low 79 % (27 for 34) of his field goals in 2020.
Heinicke, undrafted like Patterson, said he thinks he knows what the rookie is going through this preseason.
“Ever since high school I was told I was too short, too slow and didn’t have a strong enough arm,” said Heinicke, who was a star at Old Dominion before bouncing around the NFL. “I’m sure he’s heard the same thing.”
Bengals rookie DE Cam Sample left the game with a right shoulder injury but Taylor said the injury was relatively minor.
Bengals: Cincinnati finishes the preseason Aug. 29 against the Miami Dolphins.
Washington: Hosts the Baltimore Ravens Aug. 28 in their preseason finale.
More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL