Bengals beat Colts 42-28 to stay perfect at home
A disputed call went the Bengals’ way – not that they absolutely
Getting Andy Dalton back in form was quite enough.
Dalton regained his passing touch in time to keep the Bengals
perfect at home and in control of the AFC North on Sunday. He threw
for three touchdowns and ran for another in a 42-28 victory over
Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts.
The Bengals (9-4) kept their firm grip on first place, two games
ahead of Baltimore with three to play.
”We’re on a roll,” middle linebacker Rey Maualuga said. ”At
the beginning of the year, we had three goals. We wanted to be
undefeated at home, win the AFC North and eventually be world
”We’re close to the goals we wanted to get to. We’ve got to be
good from here out.”
It had been a while since Dalton was this good.
He was the AFC’s offensive player for October, but hadn’t put
together a consistent game since. He was as good as ever on Sunday,
helping the Bengals improve to 6-0 at Paul Brown Stadium on a cold,
windy day – 28 degrees at kickoff with a wind chill of 19.
”We know what we’re capable of, and we’ve got some momentum
now,” said Dalton, who was 24 of 35 for 275 yards without a sack
or interception. ”But we’ve got to keep it going.”
BenJarvus Green-Ellis had a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs – one
of them on a review that overturned a call – as the Bengals got
ahead 21-0 and held on.
The Colts (8-5) had another slow start in the cold, falling
behind 21-0 before Luck threw four touchdown passes to keep them
close. They never caught up as Dalton got the better of a
head-to-head matchup of up-and-coming quarterbacks from Texas.
Despite the loss, the Colts clinched the AFC South later Sunday
when Denver beat Tennessee 51-28.
Indianapolis is in the playoffs but has some major concerns. The
Colts were drubbed 40-11 in Arizona two games ago and needed Adam
Vinatieri’s five field goals to beat Tennessee 22-14 last week.
”We’ve got some things to clean up, but we certainly came down
here with the mindset that we wanted to win this football game and
certainly win the division that way,” coach Chuck Pagano said.
The Bengals are having their best season at home since 1988,
when they won all eight regular-season home games and two playoff
games on the way to a second Super Bowl appearance and loss to San
They’re in position to clinch their first AFC North title since
2009 with two home games in the last three weeks.
Dalton was sharp from the outset, completing 6 of 7 for 81 yards
on the Bengals’ first drive, including a 29-yard touchdown pass to
Marvin Jones. The Colts have been outscored 49-9 in the first
quarters of their past six games.
The Bengals got a pivotal touchdown on a reversed call with 1:06
left in the first half.
They went for it on fourth down from the Colts 1-yard line.
Green-Ellis took the handoff and appeared to get tripped by nose
tackle Josh Chapman, who dived into the backfield and swiped at his
”I hit his foot when he came through,” said Chapman, who
started celebrating his play.
Green-Ellis said he felt someone trip him. He stumbled ahead,
avoided a couple of defenders, landed at the 1-yard line and slid
into the end zone. He was initially ruled down, but the Bengals
were awarded a touchdown after a review.
The review focused only on whether a defender touched
Green-Ellis as he fell near the goal line, not whether Chapman had
tripped him in the backfield, referee Jeff Triplette said.
”We looked at the goal line, (those) were the shots that we
looked at,” Triplette said.
Trailing 21-0, Luck finally rallied the Colts.
He completed a slant pass that Da’Rick Rogers took 69 yards for
a touchdown and another short pass that LaVon Brazill turned into a
19-yard touchdown, slipping through the hands of six defenders.
Dalton and the Bengals never let the Colts get closer than seven
Notes: The Bengals moved 2012 Pro Bowl tackle Andrew Whitworth
to left guard, and right guard Kevin Zeitler was out of the lineup
for the third straight game because of injury. The Colts were
missing guards Hugh Thornton and Jeff Linkenbach. … Colts RB
Chris Rainey will get an MRI on an injured ankle. … The Bengals
have scored 49, 41 and 42 points in their past three home games,
the first time they’ve scored at least 40 in three straight at
home. … RB Giovani Bernard had 99 yards on 12 carries, coming up
a yard short of the first 100-yard rushing game by a Bengal this
season. He also had 49 yards on four catches.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org