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               === Bengals thump Falcons in preseason opener ===
 
 Atlanta,  GA  (Sports Network) - The  first preseason game for the Bengals and
 Falcons  proved  to be  a showcase for  the backups, as  Josh Johnson and Dane
 Sanzenbacher  led  Cincinnati to a  34-10 win over  the Atlanta Falcons at the
 Georgia Dome.
 
 Neither  first-team  offense recorded a  touchdown, though Atlanta's moved the
 ball somewhat more effectively.
 
 Matt  Ryan,  tasked with justifying  a hefty contract extension after bringing
 the  Falcons  within a game  of the  Super Bowl last  season, led Atlanta to a
 field  goal on  the game's opening drive  and finished with 89 yards on 6-of-9
 passing.
 
 Steven Jackson, who ran for 1,000-plus yards in eight consecutive seasons with
 the  Rams, carried the  ball five times for eight yards in his first game in a
 Falcons uniform after leaving St. Louis via free agency.
 
 The Bengals' projected starters also struggled, but they are still expected to
 be  playoff contenders  again after bowing out  in the AFC Wild Card round the
 last two seasons.
 
 Andy  Dalton completed  3-of-7 passes for 37 yards, while Johnson did a little
 bit of everything as he threw for 100 yards and a touchdown and added 64 yards
 on the ground.
 
 Johnson  led Cincinnati  to 17  points in  the second  quarter, first  hitting
 Brandon  Tate in  traffic for a 21-yard  touchdown, then guiding the club on a
 two-minute  drill that  led  to Giovani  Bernard's 1-yard  plunge  for a  17-3
 Bengals lead at halftime.
 
 Dominique  Davis  got the Falcons  in the end zone  early in the third quarter
 when he and Jason Snelling hooked up for an 8-yard TD.
 
 Sanzenbacher  sealed  the outcome from there  with a 71-yard punt return for a
 score and a 36-yard TD grab from John Skelton.
 
 08/08 23:32:28 ET