Andy Dalton threw for two touchdowns and scored another on the ground as the Bengals defeated the Jaguars, 27-10, on the road for their third consecutive win.
Dalton completed 20-of-31 passes for 244 yards. He overcame an early interception to help the Bengals (3-1) keep pace with the Baltimore Ravens for first place in the AFC North.
Cincinnati’s A.J. Green hauled in six passes for 117 yards and scored a touchdown for the third consecutive game. Chris Pressley also caught a touchdown pass and Mike Nugent converted on both of his field goal attempts for the Bengals, who are off to their best start since 2009.
The Jaguars (1-3) stayed within striking distance for the first three quarters, but Blaine Gabbert’s fourth-quarter interception led to a Bengals field goal which made it a three-score game.
“We let the game get out of hand late,” said Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey. “We have to learn how to make plays, not just defensively, but in all phases.”
Gabbert finished 23-of-34 for 186 yards and a touchdown, while rookie Justin Blackmon caught a career-high six passes for 48 yards for Jacksonville. Maurice Jones-Drew struggled for 38 rushing yards on 13 carries, but had five receptions for 42 yards in the defeat.
The Jaguars trailed 17-7 at halftime, but made it one-score game in third quarter. On the Bengals’ opening drive of the second half, Dalton completed four passes to Green to put them down on the opponent’s one-yard line. But BenJarvus Green-Ellis fumbled for the second consecutive week after going 589 carries without one, and the Jaguars recovered in the end zone for a touchback.
Gabbert then completed 7-of-8 passing attempts to drive the Jaguars’ offense 77 yards down the field, eating up nearly eight minutes of the third-quarter clock. Josh Scobee drilled a 21-yard field goal to cap the march and cut Cincinnati’s lead to 17-10.
However, the Bengals responded quickly with a touchdown to make it a 24-10 game. Dalton threw a short pass to Andrew Hawkins, who ran 31 yards into Jacksonville territory. Four plays later, Dalton threw an 18-yard strike to Green for the score.
On the Jaguars’ following possession, Gabbert was intercepted by Chris Crocker, who was downed on the Jaguars’ 16-yard line.
“That was a big play in the football game,” said Bengals coach Marvin Lewis. “That was a big interception, to get the ball right back to the offense there after we scored.”