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Sunday, September 25, 2011
Rapid Reaction: 49ers 13, Bengals 8

By Jamison Hensley

CINCINNATI -- Thoughts on the Cincinnati Bengals' 13-8 loss to the San Francisco 49ers:


What it means: The Bengals failed to win over a sparse crowd at Paul Brown Stadium, falling flat in the home opener. There was more drama during the week with the Bengals, who dealt with the drug bust at Jerome Simpson's house and the announcement of a three-game suspension for running back Cedric Benson.

Play of the game: For some reason, Cincinnati forgot to cover the only 49ers offensive player that hurt them all game. Tight end Vernon Davis was wide open on the left side of the field for a 20-yard grab that led to the only touchdown of the game -- a 7-yard run by Kendall Hunter with 3:59 left in the fourth quarter.

Thumbs up: Middle linebacker Rey Maualuga forced a fourth-quarter fumble deep in San Francisco territory, but the Bengals could only manage a field goal. It's not coincidence that Maualuga (he left with muscle cramps) wasn't on the field when Hunter ran into the end zone standing up.

Thumbs down: Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton couldn't follow up his prolific outing last Sunday. Take away the opening drive, and Dalton struggled mightily with two fourth-quarter interceptions. His first one led to a San Francisco field goal and the other ended the Bengals' final drive.

What's next: The Bengals stay at home to face the Buffalo Bills.