It was a heartbreaking way to lose a game, but the Cincinnati Bengals put forth a quality effort against a now-playoff-bound Denver Broncos squad. In the contest, there were a number of impressive plays to give the Bengals the best chance to pull out the win, but they came up just short. If you're wondering why Brian McManus' miss at the end of the game isn't listed, it's because it wasn't a play made by the Bengals, but rather one that wasn't made by the Broncos.
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A.J. Green's Five-Yard Touchdown Catch:
Backup quarterback AJ McCarron led the Bengals to a masterful opening drive that spanned 15 plays, including many of them on third down. On a third and goal another from the Denver five-yard line, McCarron did a pre-snap read and motioned to Green, floating one to him in the back of the end zone. Green made a masterful catch in coverage with Aqib Talib getting a hand on the ball.
Mohamed Sanu's Six-Yard Touchdown Run:
After the defense continued to stifle the Broncos' offense throughout the first quarter, the Bengals were on the move again at the end of the first and into the second quarter. They ate up clock and once again converted third downs, to the tune of a 13-play drive. It was capped by a touchdown run from Sanu out of the Wildcat, where he went untouched from six yards out.
Mike Nugent's 52-Yard Fourth Quarter Field Goal:
Nugget missed a big 45-yarder in the second quarter, but atoned on a big field goal late in the fourth quarter. McCarron led the Bengals on another long drive, but it stalled out at the Denver 34-yard line with a 17-14 deficit. Nugent lined up and nailed the long kick.
Michael Johnson's Fourth Quarter Forced Fumble:
It looked like the Bengals were down for the count as the fourth quarter wore on, with Denver milking the clock late. Needing a huge play once again from the defense, Johnson sought out C.J. Anderson for a big tackle and caused a fumble with just over four minutes to play. Reggie Nelson recovered it and gave the Bengals an opportunity for the win. Unfortunately, they weren't able to take advantage and score on the ensuing offensive drive.