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Cincinnati Bengals grades against the Indianapolis Colts

Grading the Cincinnati Bengals performances against the Indianapolis Colts, breaking it down by position.

Andy Lyons

QUARTERBACK: Andy Dalton had one of his better performances this year, nailing third down conversions and scoring four touchdowns (three passing, one rushing). His 68.6 completion percentage against the Colts was his highest since week seven (Lions) and his 120.5 passer rating is his highest since week 9 (Jets). Even more impressive, he broke a five-game streak of throwing at least one interception.

Grade: A-

RUNNING BACK: Giovani Bernard and BenJarvus Green-Ellis were a tremendous one-two punch on Sunday. Both combined for 147 yards rushing, over five yards rushing per carry and two rushing touchdowns. Bernard, who had 99 of those rushing yards, added another 49 through the air, generating a season-high 148 yards from scrimmage.

Grade: A-

TIGHT ENDS: Welcome back. Jermaine Gresham recorded five receptions, 41 yards receiving and a touchdown after being completely shutout against the San Diego Chargers last week. Tyler Eifert added three receptions, giving Bengals tight ends eight total receptions -- the most since week five when they combined for nine grabs against the New England Patriots.

Grade: B+

WIDE RECEIVERS: Bengals receivers combined for 12 receptions on Sunday, scoring twice and generating 165 yards receiving. A.J. Green (6 receptions, 72 yards receiving, TD) and Marvin Jones (3 receptions, 60 yards, TD) led the way for the Bengals receiving group.

Grade: B

OFFENSIVE LINE: Credit Andy Dalton and all of the specialty players if you want, but none of that happens without the Bengals offensive line. Not only did Anthony Collins and Andre Smith shut down Robert Mathis (he moved around a lot), who leads the NFL with 15.5 quarterback sacks, Dalton was never touched... by anyone. For the third consecutive game, the opposing defense failed to record a quarterback sack. The offensive line also opened significant lanes for Giovani Bernard and BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who averaged 5.1 yards rushing combined.

Grade: A+

DEFENSIVE LINE: Although the front four had a great effort pressuring Andrew Luck on Sunday, they just couldn't get there. It's only the third time this season that Cincinnati finished a game without a quarterback sack. However, the defensive line was good against the run, holding Indianapolis to 63 yards rushing. If you remove the 29-yard scramble by Luck in the third quarter, the Bengals defense held the Colts to 31 yards rushing.

Grade: B-

LINEBACKER: Much like the defensive line, the linebackers did a good job holding the Colts rushing offense into obscurity. Donald Brown gained 11 yards (on four carries) and Trent Richardson added 20 (on six rushes). However, Richardson also had 68 yards rushing on five receptions, a lot going through zones with linebacker responsibility. Burfict led the team with eight tackles and two passes defensed.

Grade: C

SECONDARY: Andrew Luck is too good to believe that Cincinnati would shut him down entirely. While they played well in the first half, helping shutout the Colts in the opening two quarters, they struggled in the second half when Luck completed 19 passes for 230 yards and scored four touchdowns, many with awful tackling (from everyone, not just the secondary) and broken coverages. Adam Jones had a good first half and Dre Kirkpatrick led the secondary with five tackles.

Grade: D+

SPECIAL TEAMS: Clockwork. That's Cincinnati's special teams. Kevin Huber averaged 50.6 yards/punt and dropped one inside the 20-yard line. There were two touchbacks, one as a result of a 70-yarder, but solid afternoon for Cincinnati's punter. Brandon Tate helped the Bengals regain their lost momentum in the second half with three returns (two punts, one kickoff) in the second half that led to touchdowns from the Bengals offense.

Grade: A-