Cautioned all week against a letdown, the Cincinnati Bengals responded with a beatdown.
Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis recorded his first 100-yard game as a Bengal and quarterback Andy Dalton threw for two touchdowns and ran for another. The defense held an opponent without a TD for the first time in nearly four years as Cincinnati extended Kansas City’s misery with a 28-6 victory Sunday afternoon at a sullen, half-empty Arrowhead Stadium.
“There was a question about whether we were going to come back and slump and not do as well as we did last week,” linebacker Rey Maualuga said, referring to a 31-13 upset of the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants.
“I think we answered the call,” Maualuga added. “I think it gave us life to beat the New York Giants.Today was a big statement, too.”
The defense held the Chiefs (1-9) to 1-of-11 on third downs and only allowed them to cross midfield once in the second half. And the last time the Bengals held an opponent without a touchdown was Dec. 21, 2008, in a 14-0 victory at Cleveland.
“We almost did it last week, so I knew it was coming,” said defensive end Michael Johnson, who had one of the team’s three sacks. “We’ve got a pretty good defense. If we play how we can play, we’re tough to beat.”
Geno Atkins had a sack, two forced fumbles and six tackles to share team-high honors with Adam Jones, who also recorded his first sack since 2006. Vontaze Burfict added four tackles and a fumble recovery as the Bengals forced the Chiefs to bench quarterback Matt Cassel (8-of-16 for 93 yards) in favor of Brady Quinn (9-of-14 for 95 yards).
“We got our feet back under us after the first (scoring drive),” Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said, referring to an eight-play, 59-yard march that ended with the Chiefs taking a 3-0 lead early in the first quarter. “It was good to get righted, and we settled in and did a good job the rest of the day.”
The offense started a little slow as well, but a fake punt on fourth-and-3 at their own 29-yard line resulted in a 32-yard run by Cedric Peerman that led to the Bengals’ first score of the day — a 4-yard TD pass from Dalton to A.J. Green.
Dalton also converted a fourth-and-7 later in the drive with an 11-yard scramble, and the team’s second TD came on a fourth-and-goal play at the Kansas City 1 when he ran in uncontested on a naked bootleg.
“We wanted to jump on them early, and being aggressive is what we had to do,” said Dalton, who was 18-of-29 for 230 yards with two TD passes and, for the second game in a row, no interceptions.
Staked to the 14-3 lead, the Bengals started leaning on Green-Ellis, who carried 26 times for a 101 yards and a TD, a 1-yard dive that made it 21-3 less than a minute before halftime.
The 26 carries were one shy of his career high, and it was his first 100-yard game since Oct. 9, 2011.
“It feels good to go out there and get some of those things under wraps,” Green-Ellis said.
Peerman added 75 yards as the Bengals finished with a team total of 189, their most since rushing for 210 on Nov. 29, 2009, in a 16-7 home win against Cleveland.
Dalton capped the scoring with a 14-yard TD pass to Mohamed Sanu as the Bengals rolled up 409 yards of total offense while committing zero turnovers for the first time this season. The rout also gives them back-to-back victories by at least 18 points for the first time since 1985.
“We’ve won the last two, and it’s not worth a darn unless we take care of business next week,” Lewis said, referring to a home game against Carson Palmer and the Oakland Raiders.
The next four opponents currently have losing records, which means the opportunity is there for the Bengals to overcome their recent four-game losing streak and 3-5 start to still make something of the season.
“We just have to keep going,” Lewis said. “We put ourselves in this situation, and they just have to take it one step at a time.”
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