A.J. Green’s breakout finally happened, and not a moment too soon. Green caught eight passes for 96 yards in his best game of the season. Tee Higgins had a great game too, and passed the 100-yard mark for the first time in his career.
The defense seemed ill-equipped to stop Philip Rivers. The Colts’ quarterback had 371 yards in the game, with more than 250 coming in the second quarter alone.
The Bengals kicked off first, but recovered the ball after two plays on a fumble by Jack Doyle. Joe Mixon carried the ball four times on the first five plays and gained 19 yards on the drive. But Giovani Bernard was the back who got the score, barreling in to the end zone from two yards out. After the extra point, the Bengals were up early, 7-0 with 11:17 left in the first quarter. The Bengals scored on their opening drive for the first time all year.
A.J. Green had the best drive he’s had in a while on the next possession. He hauled in two receptions for 29 yards. The Bengals got down to the two-yard line and went for it on fourth-and-one. Burrow got the first down and the touchdown on a sneak with 3:18 left in the quarter. Randy Bullock’s extra point was good, and the Bengals were ahead 14-0.
The Bengals forced another three-and-out on defense. Burrow took a huge chunk of yardage on third-and-nine on a 67-yard pass to Tee Higgins. Mixon ran the ball in from the seven-yard line on the next play and scored the touchdown. Bullock made the extra point and the Bengals were quickly up 21-0 with 14:56 to go in the second quarter.
The Colts gained their first first down since the fumble, and had their best possession of the game so far. Rivers connected with Marcus Johnson for 55 yards, which got the Colts in the red zone. Trey Burton took a direct snap and ran the ball to end the drive on a one-yard touchdown. After the extra point, the Colts were finally on the scoreboard, down 21-7 with 12:18 left in the first half.
The Bengals earned a huge chunk of yardage on the next drive off of a 25-yard sweep from Tyler Boyd. But a sack and a run for no gain forced the Bengals to settle for a field goal. Bullock nailed the 47-yard kick, and the Bengals extended their lead to 24-7 with 8:04 remaining in the half.
The Colts were desperate to make up ground on the scoreboard, and rushed for 27 yards on their first three carries of the next drive. The Colts got all the way down to the red zone, and they found Burton again, this time for a receiving touchdown. After the ten-yard touchdown pass, Rodrigo Blankenship’s extra point was good and the Colts were making their way back 24-14 with 4:38 to go in the half.
The Bengals punted and Rivers got back to work. Rivers found Johnson two more times for 40 yards. Rivers beat LeShaun Sims on a 17-yard touchdown pass to Zach Pascal with 15 seconds left in the half. After the extra point, the Colts had nearly wiped out the Bengals’ lead, down only 24-21 going into halftime.
By halftime, the Bengals had already matched their offensive production from the week before in the lopsided loss to the Ravens. But the Bengals’ nearly let a three-score lead slip away in the space of less than a quarter.
In the middle of the third quarter, the Bengals started with the ball on the one-yard line after a punt. The Bengals had to convert four third downs, and Green helped convert two of them. Their last attempt didn’t get the first, but it set up a 55-yard field goal from Bullock to extend the Bengals’ lead to 27-21 with 3:32 remaining in the third quarter.
The Colts gave the ball to Jonathan Taylor on the next drive, and he gained 38 yards on his first two carries. Once in the red zone, Rivers hit Doyle for a 14-yard touchdown pass. With 14:55 to go in the fourth quarter, the Colts got their first lead of the game after the extra point, now leading 28-27.
After the Bengals offense punted, Jessie Bates picked off Rivers and took it near midfield. The offense would get down in field-goal range, but Randy Bullock missed a 40-yarder with eight minutes left. He has just two misses this season, but both were easily the two biggest kicks of the season, the first being the missed 31-yarder vs. the Chargers in Week 1.
After that, the Bengals couldn’t get off the field on third down, which resulted in another long drive from the Colts. Blankenship made a 40-yard field goal, and the Colts led 31-27 with 4:03 to go in the fourth quarter.
Burrow took the ball with less than four minutes to go, which is usually when he plays at his best. But he threw his first interception of the game with less than a minute to go, sealing the game for the Colts.
After all that drama, the Bengals blew their 21-point lead and lost 31-27 to the Colts. The Bengals drop to 1-4-1 on the season and head coach Zac Taylor remains winless on the road in his career. A home game against the 4-2 Cleveland Browns awaits them.