Thursday Night Football took Bengals fans through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Cincinnati struggled throughout the game with the Eagles, but they eventually pulled out a huge win on the backs of their defense and special teams units.
Jeremy Maclin’s fumble on the second play of the game for the Eagles was a foreshadowing of what would come for both teams as the night progressed. Neither team excelled on offense, having to rely on winning the turnover battle on the field.
Andy Dalton went a mere 13 for 27 through the air, picking up 127 yards and one touchdown. He also added 18 rushing yards and one rushing score as the game dragged on. The quarterback escaped a couple close calls in the air, when his ball was almost picked-off on several occasions by an ignited Eagles defense.
The offensive line had trouble holding up against Philadelphia’s defensive front, allowing them to sack Dalton six times and hitting him six more. The frustrated Bengal quarterback was forced to make tough passes into coverage and make moves to get out of the collapsing pocket. The Eagles came up big on defense throughout the night; forcing Dalton to fumble twice when he drew his arm back to make a pass to an open receiver.
Though Philadelphia managed to play better defense than they have throughout the season, the team’s errors on other sides of the ball proved to be too much. The team suffered from a blocked punt, that Daniel Herron caused by pushing the Eagles own man into their kicker. Then four different players, Cedric Thornton, Clay Harbor, Jeremy Maclin, and Nick Foles, lost fumbles to the ball-hungry Cincinnati defense.
Nick Foles was held to just 182 yards through the air, only completing 16 of his 33 passing attempts. He threw for one touchdown, but also threw an interception for his second turnover of the game. The rookie running back for the Eagles also struggled in the game, leading the team in rushing with only 34 yards on 16 carries.
Cincinnati escaped a nightmare in Philadelphia, after being down at the half by three points. The Bengals will now have the long break to rest up and correct their problems before facing a Pittsburgh team in Week 16 that can make or break their playoff hopes.