Looking to get back on track after a disappointing loss to Miami, the Bengals traveled upstate and stumbled again against the winless Cleveland Browns, falling 34-24 to even their record at 3-3. Cincinnati led 14-7 at halftime, but Andy Dalton threw three second-half interceptions, one of which Sheldon Brown returned 19 yards for a touchdown, and also lost a fumble to send the Bengals to a second consecutive loss.
Former quarterback Carson Palmer’s return to Cincinnati was a case in sensory overload. The Bengals fans let him hear it all day, and the Cincinnati defense made him feel it, sacking Palmer four times and hitting him four others on the way to a 34-10 win. It was the team’s third win in a row, moving them over .500 to 6-5. The game also featured a trio of ejections when Raiders defensive tackle LaMarr Houston hit Bengals Andy Dalton after the whistle, prompting tackle Andrew Whitworth to come to his quarterback’s defense, setting off a fight. Rookie Mohamed Sanu had two TD catches in his final game before suffering a season-ending stress fracture in practice.
Heading to the California where they had lost 12 of their last 13 games, the offense struggled for most of the game against San Diego. But the defense kept the Chargers from running away, and Andy Dalton and BenJarvus Green-Ellis fueled a game-winning, 14-play drive that Dalton capped with a 6-yard TD run with 4:11 remaining, lifting the Bengals to a 20-13 triumph, their fourth in a row. Green-Ellis ran for his third straight 100-yard game (118), and Carlos Dunlap earned AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors with five tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
Gene J. Puskar
Bengals kicker Josh Brown, signed just three weeks earlier when Mike Nugent suffered a calf injury, gave Cincinnati fans the ultimate Christmas present with a 43-yard field goal with four seconds remaining to lift the team to a 13-10 win at Pittsburgh. The victory clinched a wildcard berth for the Bengals and eliminated the Steelers. Cincinnati ran for just 14 yards in the game, the second-lowest total in franchise history, but cornerback Leon Hall returned a Ben Roethlisberger interception for a touchdown and the defense bailed out head coach Marvin Lewis after an ill-advised 56-yard field goal try late in the game that put the Steelers in great position to break the tie. The win, which snapped a five-game losing streak against Pittsburgh, was the Bengals’ sixth win in the last seven games, upping their record to 9-6. Full game recap