Peterson back, but Vikings fall to Bengals 42-14
Even with Adrian Peterson back, the Vikings couldn’t keep up
with a team that’s always hot at home.
Andy Dalton threw four touchdown passes, and Peterson spent most
of the second half watching from the bench as the Cincinnati
Bengals finished off a 42-14 victory on Sunday that clinched a
playoff spot for them.
This one got away fast from a team that’s accustomed to giving
up a lot of points.
Linebacker Vincent Rey returned an interception 25 yards for a
touchdown as Cincinnati’s defense set up another fast start for the
Bengals, who are 7-0 at home. They’ve scored at least 40 points in
each of their last four home games, a franchise first.
Too much for Minnesota (4-10-1) to match.
”Turnovers definitely decided the game,” said Peterson, who
sat out most of the second half with the Vikings far behind. ”We
put them in a position to play the game the way they wanted to
”It’s tough getting behind the 8-ball like we did.”
The Vikings have allowed 467 points this season, most in the
NFL. They’ve given up 40 points four times in the last nine
Having Peterson back didn’t matter much.
Peterson missed the last game with a sprained right foot. He was
limited in practice during the week but wanted to play. Coach
Leslie Frazier decided to rest him after the game got out of
Peterson had 11 carries for 45 yards, his longest run 11
”I lobbied a little bit (to stay in), but is it really worth
the risk?” Peterson said. ”I don’t feel like I played with as
much confidence as I need. I was a little hesitant. My body is just
not responding like I want it to.”
The Bengals noticed.
”Personally, I don’t think he is healthy,” safety George Iloka
said. ”He didn’t seem like himself out there.”
The Bengals (10-5) remained perfect at home and clinched an
unprecedented third straight playoff appearance when Miami lost at
Something about Paul Brown Stadium brings out the best in
Dalton. In his past four home games, Dalton has thrown for five,
three, three and four touchdowns.
Dalton has thrown 31 touchdown passes this season, one shy of
Carson Palmer’s club record from 2005. Dalton replaced Palmer in
the 2011 season and has led his team to the playoffs in each of his
first three seasons, only the fifth quarterback in NFL history to
His biggest shortcoming: 0-2 with two poor showings in the
playoffs. The Bengals haven’t won a playoff game since the 1990
season, tied for the seventh-longest stretch of futility in NFL
He had good conditions for throwing the ball – breezy with
temperatures in the 50s. And the defense helped out, too.
Dalton threw touchdown passes of 29 yards to A.J. Green and 16
yards to Jermaine Gresham as the Bengals pulled ahead 28-7 before
halftime, the most points that Minnesota had allowed in an opening
Two of Cincinnati’s first three touchdowns came courtesy of the
defense. Rey’s interception and touchdown return made it 21-7.
Giovani Bernard pulled off the game’s flashiest play, turning a
short pass into a 41-yard play in the third quarter by doing a
complete spin to avoid a tackler, stiff-arming another and reaching
the 7-yard line. Dalton passed to Mohamed Sanu for his third
touchdown. Green made a one-hand grab of a 2-yard pass for another
Matt Cassel was 13 of 27 for 114 yards with one touchdown and
three interceptions. The Vikings took advantage of Dre Kirkpatrick
for their first touchdown – the cornerback played off Jarius
Wright, went for a fake and stumbled, allowing the receiver to run
past him for a 36-yard score.
Asked if Cassel will start the final game, Frazier said, ”We’ll
sit down and talk about it, but my initial thought would be
NOTES: The Vikings were 0 for 9 on third down and 0 for 2 on
fourth down. … Minnesota managed only 209 total yards, its
second-lowest total of the season. … WR Jerome Simpson, a former
Bengal, was limited to one catch. … Bengals TE Tyler Eifert sat
out the second half with a pinched nerve in his neck. … Pat Haden
of the Rams, Dan Marino of the Dolphins, Bernie Kosar of the Browns
and Joe Flacco of the Ravens are the other four QBs to lead their
teams to the playoffs in each of their first three seasons.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org