- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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What it means: The Bengals won their third straight game to improve to 3-1 and remain tied atop the AFC North (they lose the tiebreaker to the Ravens based on their season-opening loss). This is quite an accomplishment because the Bengals had to play three of their first four games on the road. Of course, all of the Bengals' wins have been against teams that don't have winning records. Cincinnati's run defense, the third worst in the NFL, held Maurice Jones-Drew (who was averaging 104.7 rushing yards per game) to 38 yards on 13 carries. The Bengals' defense also held the Jaguars to 24 points below its season average.
Green dominates again: Wide receiver A.J. Green put on an impressive show for a second straight week, catching six passes for 117 yards and one touchdown. What's remarkable is he didn't make his first catch until the 1:53 mark in the second quarter. Green had 75 yards receiving in the second half.
Should have been worse: The margin should have been bigger for the Bengals. Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who hadn't fumbled in his first 590 touches in the NFL, coughed up the ball for the second time in two games. He fumbled at the goal line, a turnover that the Jaguars converted into a field goal to close the gap to 17-10 in the third quarter.
More trickery by Bengals: Cincinnati, which used the Wildcat to produce its first touchdown last week, used some trickery to jump-start the team again. In the second quarter, the Bengals converted a fourth-and-1 with a fake punt as Cedric Peerman took a direct snap and ran 48 yards into the Jaguars' red zone to set up their first touchdown.
No corners, no problem: The Bengals had only three healthy cornerbacks (Terence Newman, Adam Jones and Chris Lewis-Harris), but they didn't have any problems handling Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who was 23-of-34 for 186 yards. Cincinnati's secondary was helped by its pass rush, which recorded six sacks for a second straight game. Chris Crocker, who was re-signed a few days before the game, came up with the Bengals' first interception of the season. Cincinnati went the first 15 quarters without one.
Lucky break for Dalton: Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton should have had his third interception returned for a touchdown. But Jaguars linebacker Kyle Bosworth, who caught the deflected pass, fumbled the ball without being touched at the Bengals' 13-yard line. The Bengals recovered and went on to score a field goal to take a 3-0 first-quarter lead. Dalton was 20-of-31 for 244 yards with two touchdowns.
What's next: The Bengals play the Dolphins at home after playing three road games in September.