The Cincinnati Bengals made this one a nailbiter. Well, they played the Indianapolis Colts, soooo … let’s say a photo finish. It was a back-and-forth battle in which Cincinnati got the final punch – scoring a defensive touchdown with seven minutes left in the game to eke out a 24-23 victory.
The teams matched each other almost stride for stride. Touchdowns were answered by touchdowns on two occasions and neither team led by more than seven points. The tight contests always went against the Cincinnati Bengals in 2016. But this year, they’ve won their last two one-possession games. Let’s hope that trend continues.
How Things Went
The Colts might as well have put a stamp on the line of scrimmage that said ‘Property of Indy.’ They only allowed Cincinnati to rush for 58 yards on 21 carries and put tons of pressure on Andy Dalton.
But here’s the shocker: Even though Dalton had more nose-to-nose meetings than an 80’s rogue cop with his screaming, the-mayor’s-on-my-ass captain, he didn’t throw a pick or have any major screwups. He took three sacks but ended up with very respectable numbers (17-29, 243 yards, 2 TDs). Rookie Cincy receiver Josh Malone nabbed his first pro touchdown reception. Joe Mixon had a sweet 67-yard catch that features more bobs and weaves than Ali in his prime.
But the Cincinnati Bengals’s offense had some less-than-rosy moments. Six of their possessions lasted six plays or less. They didn’t bag a touchdown until late in the second quarter and fumbled four times (losing two). When you’re handling the ball like wet soap in a game this close, it’s more dangerous than in the prison shower room.
Cincinnati Bengals Player of the Game
Carlos Dunlap takes the honors today with his 16-yard pick-six midway through the fourth quarter. That score (which gave Cincinnati the 24-23 lead), along with a sack, a TFL and three stops, capped off a fine performance.
What This Means Going Forward
It was a much-needed win for the Cincinnati Bengals. It kept them within spitting distance of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North race. With four winnable games coming up in November (Jaguars, Titans, Broncos and Browns), Cincinnati can put themselves back into having a shot at postseason play.