The Cincinnati Bengals kept their postseason hopes alive, responding to a four-game losing streak last month with a 28-6 win over the Kansas City Chiefs, bringing the Bengals back to .500 for the season. Depending on what the San Diego Chargers do against the Denver Broncos on Sunday, the Bengals will likely be the first team out when the playoff picture comes into focus when this weekend's games conclude.
Yet at one point in the fourth quarter during their respective games, the Dallas Cowboys were losing to the Cleveland Browns and the Houston Texans were being dealt a seven-point deficit to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Bad teams beating good teams, who were unable to take care of business. There was no such theme on Sunday for Cincinnati, who took a 28-6 lead against an uninspired Chiefs team by the fourth quarter, who have fallen to 1-9 for the season.
It wasn't a strong effort early, punting during their first possession of the game, then converting a handful of fourth downs on the succeeding drive after the Kansas City Chiefs took a 3-0 lead (their first at home this season). The Bengals offense responded after Ryan Succop's field goal, needing a fake punt (32-yard sprint by Cedric Peerman) and a fourth down conversion (11-yard scramble by Dalton).
Eventually the Bengals pushed down-field setting up a first and goal from the Chiefs four-yard line. Dalton flairs the football near the back left pylon to Green, who flips out his left hand to make the one-handed grab. A.J. Green's four-yard touchdown with 2:56 remaining in the first quarter extends his streak of touchdowns in consecutive games to nine, breaking a franchise record. Now he can set his sights on Jerry Rice's NFL record of 12 straight.
Ultimately the theme during Cincinnati's win over the Kansas City Chiefs was three-fold -- sustaining drives, no turnovers and a rushing offense.
Three of the team's four touchdowns went at least 11 plays and 70 yards (the first two drives went 83 and 88 yards respectively). Green was his usual self while Jermaine Gresham went from mistake-prone tight end to pissed off difference-making, hauling in six receptions for 69 yards (with one nearly becoming a touchdown, but called back after review).
Cincinnati's rushing offense came alive as well, generating 189 yards rushing as a unit, crushing their previous season-high of 138 yards earlier this season. BenJarvus Green-Ellis gained over 100 yards rushing for the first time since October 9, 2011 and the first for Cincinnati since November 27, 2011.
Call it an old school win, with an effective rushing offense, mistake-free passing game and a superior defense handling business against a Chiefs offense with their share of issues.
The Bengals suffered two injuries in the secondary on Sunday. Terence Newman left the game with a concussion and Nate Clements suffered an injury after trying to jack tight end Tony Moeaki midway through the fourth.
The Bengals return home to host the Oakland Raiders, also dubbed the Carson Palmer game.