When BenJarvus Green-Ellis chopped his legs into the endzone (read: pushed by half of the Bengals offense), Cincinnati established a 20-17 lead with 14:19 remaining in the fourth quarter. We're going to do this, some of us shouted before falling into a relapse of talking points about Mike Brown and Marvin Lewis when the game ended.
Yes. We've pointed our finger at Cincinnati's offensive collapse later in the quarter. On the other hand it was Cincinnati's defense that allowed consecutive fourth quarter touchdown drives to the Broncos offense with Peyton Manning completing every pass for 69 yards yards passing, two touchdowns and a quarterback rating of 154.2.
Jason Cole with Yahoo! Sports writes that the Bengals defense was the one of the biggest losers of the week.
Armed with a 20-17 lead and showing signs of life with a pair of interceptions against Denver quarterback Peyton Manning, the Cincinnati defense went into serious regression in the fourth quarter. On back-to-back touchdown drives of 80 and 56 yards, Manning went six for six for 69 yards and two TD passes in Denver's comeback victory. The Bengals also committed a 29-yard pass interference call. The Bengals have now allowed 24 points or more in six of eight games. The only teams the Bengals have contained this season are Jacksonville and Miami. Not exactly résumé-worthy stuff.
Let's call it a team effort. Fourth quarter collapses by the offense and defense with poor special teams production on a missed second quarter field goal and 105-yard kickoff returned for a touchdown. It was one of those days.