The Cincinnati Bengals had a lead in the fourth quarter for the third time this season and once again couldn’t keep it.
Jacksonville intercepted Andy Dalton three times in the final nine minutes, including one that Yannick Ngakoue returned for a touchdown, and the Bengals fell 27-17 on Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium to remain winless through seven games.
The Bengals led 7-6 at halftime and entered the fourth quarter with a 10-9 advantage, but Jacksonville rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew connected with Keelan Cole on a two-yard touchdown for a 17-10 lead after the two-point conversion with 12:45 left and the Jaguars defense came through to seal the win.
Dalton had Cincinnati in the red zone on the next drive when Myles Jack picked him off at the 10-yard line to protect the lead, and after the Jaguars punted on the ensuing drive, the Bengals got another chance only to have it end the same way. This time, Ngakoue got a jump on a pass intended for Giovani Bernard and ran it back 23 yards to make it a 14-point gap with 4:25 left.
The Jaguars intercepted Dalton for a third straight drive on the next play from scrimmage after Brandon Wilson nearly broke loose on a 61-yard kick return, and Josh Lambo added his fourth field goal of the day on a 26-yarder with 1:56 left to end the scoring for the visitors.Dalton added a 1-yard touchdown run with 27 seconds left but an onside kick didn’t pan out, and that ended it.
Cincinnati was fortunate to even be in the game after a first half in which it totaled just 110 yards of offense, including 11 in the opening quarter.
The Bengals’ defense got off to a slow start but managed to come up with a big stop on fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line and the Jaguars only crossed midfield just twice the rest of the half, both times settling for field goals.
D.J. Chark’s 33-yard catch down the sideline put Jacksonville on the 8-yard line late in the second quarter, and Lambo drove in a 21-yard field goal with 6:34 left on the clock for a 3-0 lead.
Cincinnati’s offense came to life with just over two minutes left in the second quarter, as Dalton connected with Alex Erickson on three big passes to reach the 1-yard line. Joe Mixon finished off the drive with a two-yard touchdown catch for the lead with 1:25 left in the period.
Jacksonville answered with a field goal going into halftime but could have done more with 309 yards of offense for the half.
Kevin Huber had two punts downed inside the 3-yard line, and the Bengals were able to flip field position as a result but couldn’t take advantage offensively early on in the half. Dalton completed just 7 of 16 passes for 112 yards and six of those completions were to Erickson for 110 yards. He was 4-for-4 on the final drive before failing on a Hail Mary attempt going into halftime.
Jacksonville finished with 460 yards, including 216 rushing, while the Bengals had 291 total yards and just 33 on the ground. Dalton completed 22 of 43 passes for 276 yards and one touchdown with three interceptions and accounted for 33 rushing yards. Mixon had two yards on 10 carries.
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