Before the game, I wrote that this game was gonna be a shootout, as probably every analyst predicted. Well, it turned into a physical AFC game as the defense created turnovers, contained Quarterback Phillip Rivers, and the offense did just enough to grind out a gritty 17-10 victory over the San Diego Chargers.
The Bengals scored first on a BenJarvus Green-Eills four yard touchdown run in the start of the 2nd quarter. The drive took 10 plays, 67 yards, it featured lots of running by Eills and Giovani Bernard.
The Chargers came back and scored the tying touchdown on a blown assignment by the secondary, as tight end Ladruis Green was wide open for the 30 yard catch to tie the game at 7.
In the third quarter, Quarterback Andy Dalton found AJ Green down the right sideline for a 28 yard touchdown pass, the go ahead score that made it 14-7 Cincinnati.
The Bengals had a 17-7 lead late in the 4th quarter and just forced another turnover on a a strip fumble by George Iloka. Then Green Eills gave it right back. He fumbled after converting a third-and one, with the team in the redzone.
Chargers got a field goal to cut the lead to seven, but the Bengals used the ground game to run the clock to seal the win.
One of the biggest plays in the game was a Andrew Hawkins 50 yard run and catch on third down to set up Mike Nugent’s key 46 yard field goal that made it 17-7 with nine minutes left.
NOTES: * LB Vontaze Burfict, playing with a sprained ankle, was outstanding today with 13 tackles. Gritty effort by the pro bowl to be.
* Dalton had a horrible interception in the first half, just basically lobbying out there, his QB rating was a 21, the 2nd half it was over 100. “Average Andy”.
* Dre Kirkpatrick got his first career interception. He ripped the ball out from Antonio Gates in the 2nd half.
* The defense forced three turnovers: INT, 2 fumble recovers.
Next up: A huge AFC tilt game against the Indianapolis Colts (8-4) at Paul Brown Stadium next Sunday at 1pm