Following Andy Dalton’s first interception of the game, a roughing the passer penalty on Carl Lawson moved the Falcons into Bengals territory. Four plays later, Matt Ryan found Calvin Ridley his second touchdown of the game, and fifth in the last two weeks. The Falcons two-point conversion failed, but nonetheless, the Falcons retake the lead 33-28.
After the Falcons added a field goal late, the Bengals got the ball for one final drive, and they drove down the field before Andy Dalton hit A.J. Green for the game-winning score with seconds remaining.
The Bengals went on to win 37-36.
Cincinnati started the half with the ball and all Hell broke lose. A serious ankle injury for Tyler Eifert stopped the game for several minutes, and Andy Dalton was sacked on third down. That lead to the first punt of the game, which was blocked by the Falcons.
The Falcons offense took over inside the Bengals 10-yard line, but a tackle for loss by Geno Atkins and a near strip-sack from Carlos Dunlap forced the Falcons to kick a short field goal. Matt Bryant’s 28-yard field goal shrunk the Bengals lead to 28-27.
After a drive for both teams stalled, the Bengals were approaching scoring range following an unnecessary roughness penalty on the Falcons. The play after the flag, a pass towards Tyler Kroft bounced off Kroft’s hands and into Damontae Kazee’s hands, who returned it to the Falcons’ 46-yard line.
The Bengals defensive woes continued on the first drive of the quarter, as the Falcons outside zone running game relentlessly carved up the Bengals front all the way from the 25-yard line to inside the red zone. Similar to Tyler Eifert’s touchdown earlier, Matt Ryan found Logan Paulsen up the seams for a 17-yard touchdown to tie the game at 14-14.
It seems whatever Matt Ryan can do, Andy Dalton is not afraid to match it. Another five-play drive ended with a touchdown from Dalton, this time to none other than John Ross.
Bengals take 21-14 lead on John Ross 39-yard TD reception (saaaaay what?). Ross limps back to the sidelines. pic.twitter.com/4qaHYJu3ih— Josh Kirkendall (@Josh_Kirkendall) September 30, 2018
Unfortunately, Ross limped off the field favoring his right leg. He looks to be fine to return.
There is no injury to report on John Ross, according to Bengals.— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) September 30, 2018
Eventually some defense will step up, but it didn’t happen on the next drive. The Falcons once again marched down against the Bengals for a 10-play drive that ended with Calvin Ridley hauling in an 11-yard touchdown, beating William Jackson on a slant route, and tying the game 21-21.
It took just over a minute for the Bengals to, once again, respond. Thanks to a defensive pass interference and a late hit penalty on the Falcons defense, the Bengals offense ended up at the one-yard line and punched the ball in with Giovani Bernard once more, putting the Bengals back on top 28-21.
With 0:44 remaining, the Falcons managed to get just inside field goal range and Matt Bryant nailed a 55-yard field goal as time expired. The Bengals go back into the locker room with a 28-24 lead and get the ball first in the second half.
Following a 53-yard kickoff return, the Falcons marched down the Bengals half of the field for an 8-play drive that ended with a seven-yard rushing touchdown run from Ito Smith to take a quick 7-0 lead. The Bengals didn’t hesitate to respond. Following a 38-yard A.J. Green reception on the drive’s only third down, Andy Dalton’s offense capped off a five-play drive with Tyler Eifert’s first touchdown of the year, tying the game at 7-7.
Keeping the aggressive mentality, the Falcons failed to convert on a third and five on the ensuing drive and decided to go for it on fourth-down, where Geno Atkins sacked Matt Ryan and the Bengals got the ball back near midfield. The Bengals offense stepped up and Giovani Bernard converted two third downs and capped off the drive with a 10-yard rushing touchdown to extend the lead to 14-7 just before the end of the period.
Bengals take a 14-7 lead on Giovani Bernard's 10-yard run with 12 seconds remaining in the first. pic.twitter.com/rZ1iDrXl0C— Josh Kirkendall (@Josh_Kirkendall) September 30, 2018
Cincinnati will probably have to rely on their depth to pull one out in Atlanta, though. Joe Mixon, who missed last week’s game, is out as the Bengals will sit him for another week just to be safe. That means Giovani Bernard will be relied on again to carry the load in the backfield for the second straight week.
In front of Bernard will still be Trey Hopkins at center as well, as rookie starter Billy Price is still nursing a foot injury. Fortunately, A.J. Green, who was knocked out of last week’s game with a groin injury, looks like he’ll be good to go.
The Falcons will also have to rely on some of their reserves as well, and similar to the Bengals, they will once again be without their starting running back. Devonta Freeman will likely miss this game, so Tevin Coleman will get the bulk of the touches like he’s done since Freeman injured his right knee in Week 1. Atlanta also is without their two starting safeties for the season, Ricardo Allen and Keanu Neal, which could result in some big plays from Tyler Eifert and maybe even John Ross.
Who do you think will end up with the win?
Here is how to watch the Bengals take on the Falcons:
Game: Cincinnati Bengals (2-1) at Atlanta Falcons (1-2)
Date/Time: Sep. 30th, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. EST
Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA
Streaming: Fubo TV
Series Leader: Bengals lead the series 8-5
Streak: The Falcons have won three of the past four
Coaches vs. Opponent: Marvin Lewis: (1-2) vs. Dan Quinn (0-0)
TV Broadcast: The game will air on CBS-TV. In the Bengals’ home region, it will be carried by WKRC-TV (Ch. 12) in Cincinnati, WHIO-TV (Ch. 7) in Dayton and on WKYT-TV (Ch. 27) in Lexington. Broadcasters are Greg Gumbel (play-by-play), Trent Green (analyst), Bruce Arians (analyst) and Melanie Collins (sideline reporter).
Radio Broadcast: The game will air on the Bengals Radio Network, led by Cincinnati flagship stations WCKY-AM (ESPN 1530; all sports) and WEBN-FM (102.7). Broadcasters are Dan Hoard (play-by-play) and Dave Lapham (analyst). The first half of the game also will be aired by WLW-AM (700), until the station breaks away to broadcast the Cincinnati Reds’ season finale. The game also will air nationally on Compass Media Networks. Broadcasters are Chris Carrino (play-by-play) and Brian Baldinger (analyst).
SB Nation Falcons site: The Falcoholic
Weather: Dome [NFL weather]
Odds: Falcons, -5.5 [Odds Shark]