Bengals Flip Touchdown
December 26, 2011 by staff
Andy Dalton threw a pair of touchdown passes, and Cincinnati withstood yet another fourth-quarter comeback by Arizona, holding on for a 23-16 victory Saturday that kept the Bengals in the running for a wild card.
Another small crowd at Paul Brown Stadium saw the Bengals (9-6) secure only their third winning record in the last 21 years and keep up their postseason hopes.
They pulled it off with another solid performance by their rookie quarterback and a close call in the closing minutes.
Dalton threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Gresham and a 19-yarder to Jerome Simpson, who did a somersault over a defender and landed on both feet in the end zone. Dalton joined Peyton Manning (26), Charlie Conerly (22) and Dan Marino (20) as the only NFL rookies to throw 20 touchdowns.
Down 23-0 heading into the fourth quarter, the NFL’s best comeback team nearly pulled off its most improbable one yet. Arizona (7-8) took advantage of Cedric Benson’s two fumbles, getting a pair of touchdown passes by John Skelton and Jay Feely’s field goal with 3:16 left.
The Cardinals had their chance to pull even. Early Doucet got behind the defense on a fourth-down play from the Cincinnati 17-yard line, but tripped at the goal line and fell, letting the pass fall incomplete.
Arizona got the ball one last time, but the clock ran out on them after a completion, ending the Cardinals’ four-game winning streak and their playoff chances.
Cincinnati’s defense dominated the first three quarters. Arizona didn’t cross midfield until Skelton completed a pass with 13:25 to go.
Skelton, a Fordham gradute, started for the second consecutive week in place of Kevin Kolb, who hasn’t fully recovered from a concussion. Skelton was 23 of 44 for 297 yards with three interceptions and five sacks that helped the Bengals get the 23-0 lead.
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