Sep 14, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard (25) carries the ball in the second half against the Atlanta Falcons at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals won 24-10. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
The Cincinnati Bengals may have become a bit subdued off the field in recent seasons, but they seem Hell-bent on making game-time interesting for their fans. On Sunday, the Bengals lived up to that mantra, riding trick plays and nasty defense to a 24-10 victory over the Atlanta Falcons.
The Bengals’ offense showed tremendous depth in confusing the Falcons’ D at Paul Brown stadium, racking up 170 yards on the ground and 302 in the air. Of those passing yards, 50 came when WR Mohamed Sanu hit WR Brandon Tate for 50 with about a minute left in the first quarter.
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Running back Giovani Bernard best personified the Bengals’ multi-pronged attack, as he ran 27 times for 90 yards (and a TD) and also caught a team-high five yards for 79 yards.
Bernard’s backup, rookie Jeremy Hill, played the same type of game in gaining 74 yards on the ground and another 22 through the air.
In fact, Andy Dalton’s weapons in this game were so dynamic that the team barely missed all-world receiver A.J. Green, who aggravated a toe injury during the opening series and never came back on the field.
On the other side of the ball, Falcons’ QB Matt Ryan just couldn’t seem to get anything going and ended the day 24-for-44 with one touchdown. Of course, Ryan’s woes were the direct consequence of Cincy’s solid D.
Free safety Reggie Nelson and defensive end Carlos Dunlap both nipped Ryan for sacks, racking up 19 lost yards for the hurried passer. Ryan also threw three interceptions on the afternoon — two to strong safety George Iloka and one to cornerback Leon Hall.
Beyond the injury to Green, about the only dark spot was the kicking performance of Mike Nugent, who connected on just one of four field goal attempts.
With their second victory on the young season, the Bengals grabbed sole possession of the AFC North lead as they prepare to host the Tennessee Titans next Sunday.