More than eight minutes remained in Sunday's game against the Jaguars.
The Bengals were leading by three but people were angry. A season-high 60,057 paying customers attended Sunday's game at Paul Brown Stadium and it appeared as if every one of them were booing. Twitter went into age-restriction mode, requiring parents to shield the eyes of miniature Bengals fans.
Let's rewind a few plays.
After Jaguars wide receiver Allen Hurns scored on an 18-yard touchdown with 10:04 remaining in the fourth quarter to close Cincinnati's lead 26-16, the Bengals took over on offense. One would think that saturating the clock with runs that would accelerate an eventuality (aka, victory) would be on tap. The Bengals had second-and-eight from their own 25-yard line. Andy Dalton overthrew A.J. Green, who managed to get his hand on the football to prevent an interception. Bad throws happen... sometimes a lot. No harm though. Let's move on.
Yet as fate would have it, if the gods want a pick, they're going to get a pick. And sometimes, it's bad. On the next play, Dalton looked to his left on third down and identified the screen. While in mid-throw, Dalton made a last-second decision to hold onto the football. As a result, the ball slipped out of his hand, tapped Andrew Whitworth on the back and was intercepted by linebacker J.T. Thomas III. Two plays later, Denard Robinson scored, reducing Cincinnati's lead to 26-23.
People were angry. Pissed. The boos were loud. Maybe people watching in surrounding neighborhoods were booing so loudly that it combined with the jeers inside Paul Brown Stadium.
This is when rookie running back Jeremy Hill took over, powering through the line of scrimmage and scoring on a 60-yard touchdown, giving Cincinnati a 33-23 lead with 8:04 remaining in the game. Hill finished the game with 154 yards rushing on 24 carries with two touchdowns.
Jacksonville responded with a 65-yard drive that went eight plays, reaching the Bengals 14-yard line with 4:06 remaining in the game. Blake Bortles tried hitting a receiver near the back of the endzone, but George Iloka intercepted the football.
The Cincinnati Bengals improved to 5-2-1 after Sunday's 33-23 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. The victory also secures Cincinnati's spot in the standings, leading the AFC North (no matter what everyone else does this weekend). That's the main point you should leave with on Sunday.
Credit to Jacksonville, who played surprisingly well on defense early, with a few big plays on offense. If you're a Jaguars fan, you have to believe that things are progressively improving with decent personnel being added to the team -- Blake Bortles, Denard Robinson, Allen Hurns are impressive skill players.
As for Cincinnati, they won the game, as they should have... though it wasn't clean. Jeremy Hill was fantastic as the team's primary running back, Mohamed Sanu continued a trend as being one of Cincinnati's top offensive leaders and A.J. Green scored a touchdown, but was a greater influence on Jacksonville's defense as a decoy.
It's a short turnaround this week, as Cincinnati will host the Cleveland Browns for Thursday Night Football.
JAGUARS WITH 3-0 LEAD
The Jacksonville Jaguars scored first during Sunday's game and the Bengals defense didn't really mind. In fact, if not for offensive holds and tripping penalties, the Jacksonville Jaguars were looking like one of the league's better offensive teams against Cincinnati's defense.
With 6:10 remaining in the first quarter, Denard Robinson gashed through Cincinnati's defensive front, navigating around Nico Johnson (blocked until the holy end of time), as well as Vincent Rey and Wallace Gilberry, on a 39-yard sprint that reached Cincinnati's 43-yard line.
Carlos Dunlap dropped Blake Bortles on the next play, who kept the football on a read-option, for a one-yard gain. Flag. Horsecollar. Now the Jaguars have a first down on Cincinnati's 27-yard line with 5:10 remaining. Eventually Jacksonville was faced with a third-and-16 with 3:56 on the clock when Bortles checked down to Toby Gerhart on a running back screen. Gerhart picked up 19 yards and another first down.
Eventually the Jaguars took a 3-0 lead on a Josh Scobee 25-yard field goal.
NOTE: The Bengals struggled in the first quarter, generating only 44 yards and 0-2 on third down conversions. Dalton went 2-6 for 29 yards passing.
BENGALS RESPOND WITH 80-YARD TD DRIVE
After the Jacksonville Jaguars took a 3-0 lead, the Cincinnati Bengals responded... with aggression.
With 13:37 remaining in the second quarter, Dalton flipped the football on a check-down route to Cedric Peerman out of the backfield. Peerman evaded a tackle and sprinted toward the Jacksonville 32-yard line.
NOTE: This was the first third down conversion of the game for Cincinnati's offense. Running back Jeremy Hill pounded out runs of 10 and three yards, reaching the Jaguars 19-yard line with 11:55 remaining.
Dalton took the shotgun snap on second and seven, identifying single-coverage against Mohamed Sanu down the seem. Yet with the coverages rolling toward A.J. Green, Sanu found a gap in zone coverage where Dalton beautifully landed the football in his receiver's arms.
The 19-yard touchdown reception gave Cincinnati a 7-3 lead with 11:48 remaining in the second quarter.
BENGALS EXTEND THEIR LEAD 12-3
After Mohamed Sanu hauled in a 33-yard pass (during an X-route with A.J. Green), the Bengals had first down from the Jaguars nine-yard line with 5:54 remaining in the second. You could feel that the momentum was clearly swinging in Cincinnati's favor.
Dalton took the shotgun snap and approaches the line of scrimmage on the following play, almost as if he was going to run with the football. Then suddenly, Dalton flips the football to A.J. Green on a weird-looking wide receiver screen. Green fights for yards and loses the football on a fumble that was recovered by Sanu. During that same play, Jeremy Hill is attended to by training staff and eventually limped off to the sidelines. Nice. Just... fuggin', nice.
On the next play, Dalton flipped a fastball to Green, who ran a post from the slot, scoring a 12-yard touchdown and taking a 14-3 lead... flag. Green lined up offsides, which nullifies the penalty. Two plays later, Mike Nugent converted the 31-yard field goal to give Cincinnati a 10-3 lead.
Cincinnati's defense forced a three-and-out (capped by a third down Carlos Dunlap sack). Taylor Mays blocked Bryan Anger's punt, which bounced out of bounds for an eventual safety.
JEREMY HILL GIVES THE BENGALS 19-3 LEAD
Thanks to a dead-ball personal foul by Jacksonville that concluded the first half, the Jaguars were forced kick from their own 20-yard line to open the second half. Adam Jones returned the football 24 yards to the Bengals 38-yard line.
After Jermaine Gresham converted a third down on a seven-yard reception with 13:42 remaining in the third quarter, Dalton launched the football for a Willie Mays-like reception by Mohamed Sanu, picking up 36 yards to the Jaguars 11-yard line.
Hill, bouncing to the outside and avoiding several tackles, scored a touchdown to give Cincinnati a 19-3 lead with 10:33 remaining in the third.
JAGUARS RESPOND WITH BIG PLAYS
The Jacksonville Jaguars did the unexpected.
They scored a touchdown.
With 9:45 remaining in the third quarter, with the Bengals securing a 19-3 lead, the Jaguars have second and six from the Bengals 40-yard line.
Let's go back for a moment. On the previous play, the Bengals forced a turnover on a Denard Robinson fumble which was recovered by Brandon Thompson -- who tripped up Robinson in the first place. As per league rules, the play was reviewed and overturned when it was determined that the ground caused the fumble.
With two wide receivers flanked wide right, Blake Bortles takes the shotgun snap, fakes the handoff and rolls out on a naked bootleg. Allen Hurns runs a vertical route with Leon Hall on single-coverage. Bortles deep pass was slightly underthrown. Hurns located the football before Hall, who ran past the point of decent, securing the catch and scoring on a 40-yard touchdown reception.
BENGALS REASSERT CONTROL...
Despite an unstable and shaky third quarter, the Bengals reasserted control when Adam Jones did his usual evasion on punt return. After the 31-yard return to the Jaguars 23-yard line, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton fires a fastball to A.J Green into the endzone, take a 26-10 lead.
...THEN LOSE CONTROL
After Allen Hurns scored on an 18-yard touchdown with 10:04 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Bengals have second down and eight from their own 25-yard line. Andy Dalton overthrows A.J. Green, who manages to get his hand on the football to prevent an interception.
Dalton looks to his left on third down, but the football slips out of his hands when he decided to hold onto the football during a screen pass. The football taps Andrew Whitworth on the back and is intercepted by linebacker J.T. Thomas III. Two plays later, Denard Robinson scored, reducing Cincinnati's lead to 26-23.
HILL TAKES OVER ON 60-YARD TD
Jeremy Hill just said f*ck this. Scores a 60-yard TD, gives Cincinnati their ten-point lead back (waiting on PAT)— Josh Kirkendall (@Josh_Kirkendall) November 2, 2014
- Geno Atkins was strong during Jacksonville's opening series. Following a backside tackle that limited Denard Robinson to a four-yard gain, Atkins powered himself into the backfield that forced Robinson to bounce outside (there was an offensive hold on the play)
- Bengals RB Rex Burkhead tipped a punt with 10:09 remaining in the second quarter. The football rolled to the Bengals 38-yard line. Taylor Mays blocked a punt with 2:58 remaining in the second quarter, leading to a safety and 12-3 lead.
- On the second play of the game, Marshall Newhouse (in jumbo package) is flagged for a false start. Two plays later, third and 12 with 11:37 remaining in the first, Dalton calls a timeout. He takes a sack on third down anyway. Bengals punt.
- Terence Newman - though it'll go down as a pass defensed, Newman should have had an interception on Blake Bortles pass with 10:51 remaining in the first. Emmanuel Lamur dropped an interception with 1:02 remaining in the second -- pass was tipped by Geno Atkins. He would drop two more potential interceptions.
- With 3:56 remaining in the first quarter, quarterback Blake Bortles completed a 19-yard screen to running back Toby Gerhart converting a third-and-16.
- With 5:04 remaining in the third quarter, Andy Dalton throws a lame duck on a vertical route to Mohamed Sanu. Sherrod Martin, trailing Sanu, cuts underneath the route for the interception.
- During Andy Dalton's 19-yard touchdown pass to Mohamed Sanu with 11:55 remaining in the second quarter, Andre Smith was helped off the field with an ankle injury. He was listed as questionable.
- Running back Jeremy Hill suffered an ankle injury during A.J. Green's fumble with 5:54 remaining in the second quarter. He was listed as questionable.
|LB Rey Maualuga||DE Andre Branch|
|RB Giovani Robinson||CB Will Blackmon|
|LB Vontaze Burfict||LB Dekoda Watson|
|CB Darqueze Dennard||WR Mike Brown|
|OG Kevin Zeitler||RB Storm Johnson|
|DE Will Clarke||OG Tyler Shatley|
|WR Dane Sanzenbacher||OT Sam Young|