Thursday, December 13, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Bengals 34, Eagles 13
By Jamison Hensley
PHILADELPHIA -- My thoughts on the Cincinnati Bengals' 34-13 victory at the Philadelphia Eagles:
What it means: Capitalizing on five Eagles turnovers, the Bengals improved to 8-6 and moved a half-game ahead of the Steelers (7-6) for the sixth and final playoff spot in the AFC. This also ended a nine-game losing streak in prime time for the Bengals. Cincinnati is now 5-2 on the road and secured back-to-back winning road records for the first time since 1975-76. The Bengals won for the fifth time in six games.
Defense turns around game with turnovers: The Eagles gave this one to the Bengals with their sloppy play. Four turnovers in a five-minute stretch in the second half turned a three-point deficit (13-10) into a 21-point lead (34-13). Trailing 13-10, cornerback Leon Hall made his first interception in 17 games and returned it 44 yards, which set up a touchdown run by Andy Dalton. Two plays later, Pat Sims forced a fumble and Wallace Gilberry returned it 25 yards for the Bengals' first defensive touchdown of the season. The Bengals scored 24 points in a span of 3 minutes, 23 seconds.
Offensive drought: Before the turnover party by the Eagles, the Bengals' offense was stuck in neutral. In a seven-drive stretch, Cincinnati had four three-and-outs, two fumbles (both by Dalton) and one kneel-down. In the second quarter, the Bengals had as many first downs (two) as turnovers.
Keep on running: Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis went over 100 yards for the fourth time in five games. Green-Ellis had a quick start to the game, gaining 46 yards in the first quarter on eight carries.
Usual strong start: A forced fumble by Carlos Dunlap and a blocked punt by Dan Herron led to 10 points in the first 7 minutes, 9 seconds. In the first quarter of the past six games, Cincinnati has outscored opponents 62-9.
There's the boom: Herron, a rookie sixth-round pick, lived up to his nickname, Boom. On the first punt of the game, Herron showed his power by pushing wide receiver Marvin McNutt into punter Mat McBriar to block the kick. That led to a field goal and increased the lead to 10-0. It was the Bengals' first blocked punt in the regular season since DeDe Dorsey in 2007.
What's next: The Bengals have 10 days before they play at the Steelers (7-6) in what could decide the final playoff spot in the AFC. Pittsburgh plays at Dallas on Sunday.