After a week one disaster in Baltimore, the Bengals have been impressive the last two weeks, resulting in two wins to put them right back in the thick of things in the AFC North.
Sunday in D.C., the Bengals got another solid day from QB Andy Dalton, and an even better day from WR A.J. Green, as the Bengals ran past the Washington Redskins 38-31.
Dalton threw for 328 yards and three touchdowns, and Green hauled in nine balls for 183 yards and a score.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis rushed 17 times for 38 yards with a score and wide receiver Mohamed Sanu threw a 73-yard touchdown pass on the first play from scrimmage for the Bengals.
“With the guys that we have, they’re so talented so we can do a lot of different things and we did it today. It helped us win the game,” Dalton said.
Robert Griffin III, after a slow first half, went 21-of-34 for 221 yards and a touchdown for Washington (1-2), which has dropped two straight. He also ran for a team-high 85 yards and a score.
“He’s going to keep on getting better and better as time goes on, but to see his competitiveness of him getting knocked down, getting back up and competing, that’s what you want to see,” Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said about Griffin. “I’m really proud with the way he handled himself.”
Alfred Morris ran 17 times for 78 yards with a touchdown and Santana Moss hauled in a TD pass in defeat.
While Cincinnati was putting up points early, Washington’s offense struggled, with the team’s only points of the first half coming on a defensive touchdown and a field goal.
Trailing at one point 24-7, the Redskins went on to score 17 unanswered points to pull the game back to even and took the Bengals down to the wire late.
After Washington scored 14 points in the third quarter, Dalton led two drives to put the Bengals back in front for good.
First, Dalton hit Jermaine Gresham with a 6-yard score, going 4-of-5 for 73 yards on the 80-yard drive. He then followed on Cincinnati’s next possession by hooking up with Andrew Hawkins on a 59-yard touchdown to put the Bengals ahead 38-24 with just over seven minutes remaining.
Griffin, however, marched Washington right back to a score — orchestrating an 80-yard drive that ended in his own 2-yard touchdown run. The Redskins got the all back at their own two with 1:47 remaining and Griffin drove the offense to the Cincinnati 19 with 29 seconds to play before taking a sack that effectively sealed the contest.
“We got off to a good start and we allowed them back in the game, but we kept playing,” Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said. “We kept making plays when we had to and that’s what you have to do in playing NFL football.”
After receiving the opening kick, Cincinnati caught Washington’s defense sleeping on the very first play of the game, going 73 yards for a score on Sanu’s pass to Green.
But the Redskins’ defense made up for its early mistake on Cincinnati’s next possession, taking advantage of a 58-yard punt from Sav Rocca that pinned the Bengals at their own 1-yard line.
On 2nd-and-9 from the two, Dalton dropped back into the end zone and Redskins linebacker Rob Jackson jumped a route in the flat, intercepting the ball at the goal line and falling into the end zone for a touchdown.
Dalton got redemption on his team’s next possession, though, first scrambling for a 17-yard gain to bring the ball to midfield and later hitting Armon Binns on the drive’s fifth play for a 48-yard score to put the Bengals back in front, 14-7.
After a Mike Nugent 47-yard field goal made the score 17-7, the Bengals’ defense came up with an 11-yard sack and then recovered a Griffin fumble to take the ball back at the Washington 12.
A wide receiver reverse to Green for 11 yards next set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Green-Ellis, and the Bengals took a 24-7 lead.
Washington managed to get three back before the half, thanks to 51-yard kick return by Brandon Banks that set the Redskins up at midfield. Though Griffin was only 1-of-4 for minus-1 yard passing on the drive, he used his legs to get 23 yards on the ground, setting up Billy Cundiff for a 36-yard field goal.
Getting the ball back at the start of the second half, Washington’s offense appeared to emerge, putting together an 80-yard scoring drive that ended with a 7-yard rushing touchdown by Morris.
After Cincinnati went three-and-out, the Washington offense again came through, marching 86 yards on 10 plays for a 3-yard TD pass from Griffin to Moss to even the score at 24-24.