Wrap-up: Bengals 24, Titans 17
November, 6, 2011
By Jamison Hensley | ESPN.com
Thoughts on the Cincinnati Bengals' 24-17 win at the Tennessee Titans:
What it means: The Bengals continue to validate themselves as playoff contenders. They came back from a 10-point halftime deficit to win their fifth straight game, their longest winning streak since 1988 (point of reference: quarterback Andy Dalton was 1 year old at the time). Cincinnati (6-2) will either share first place in the AFC North (if the Ravens beat the Steelers) or have sole possession of second place (if the Steelers beat the Ravens).
Thumbs up: Dalton. The rookie quarterback threw for 217 yards and three touchdowns, but the impressive part was how he threw the touchdowns. In rallying the Bengals, he threw two touchdowns -- a 15-yard pass to Jerome Simpson in the third quarter and a 5-yarder to Andre Caldwell in the fourth -- with high velocity. Unlike most first-year starters, Dalton isn't afraid with throwing in between the numbers.
Second-half shutdown: Dalton was able to bring back the Bengals because Cincinnati's defense dominated Tennessee in the second half. Titans running back Chris Johnson was limited to nine yards after halftime and quarterback Matt Hasselbeck had only 106 yards passing in the second half. The Bengals' defense nearly scored for the fourth straight week, but Carlos Dunlap's touchdown was taken away because replays showed it wasn't a backward pass.
What's next: The Bengals get back into AFC North play when they host the Pittsburgh Steelers. The game will mark the first sellout at Paul Brown Stadium this year.