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Bengals Overcome Bolts 17-10

Posted Dec 1, 2013

San Diego's mistakes proved costly in a close loss to the Bengals.

The Bengals took a knee to wind down the clock and pick up the victory over the Chargers 17-10.

Photo Gallery: Bengals vs. Chargers | Charger Girls | More Photos

The Bengals won the opening coin toss and opted to defer, bringing Philip Rivers and the Chargers offense up first. They moved the ball methodically downfield, and on 3rd-and-10 Antonio Gates caught a pass for a first down.  Unfortunately, Reggie Nelson popped the ball loose, forcing a fumble that Cincinnati recovered.  Two Manti Te’o tackles brought up a third down that Jahleel Addae broke up with a nasty hit on A.J. Green.  Forced to punt, a friendly roll on the bounce gave Kevin Huber a 75-yard punt that was downed at the four yard line. A couple strong Ryan Mathews runs wasn’t enough as Mike Scifres came on to boom a 56-yard punt. The Bengals picked up four first downs behind strong runs by BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Giovani Bernard, and the quarter ended with the visitors knocking at the doorstep on the San Diego four-yard line.

On the first play of the second quarter, Green-Ellis navigated his way into the end-zone to give the visitors a 7-0 lead.   Clutch catches by Vincent Brown and Keenan Allen had the Bolts positioned at the Bengals 30-yard line.  On first down, Rivers faked the play-action draw and hit Ladarius Green up the seam for a perfectly executed 30-yard touchdown strike to tie the game. Strong plays by Te’o and Sean Lissemore forced a three-and-out, giving the ball back to the offense at their own 21-yard line.  Allen made another circus grab for a first down on 3rd-and-3 to get the Bolts to midfield.  However, they weren’t able to get into field goal range and Scifres landed a punt that Darrell Stuckey caught at the five-yard line.  The Bengals picked up two first downs when Andy Dalton went deep.  However, he found Eric Weddle who picked him off for the interception, running it back 20 yards to the San Diego 45-yard line.   After Le’Ron McClain converted a 3rd-and-1, the Bolts were forced to punt back to the Bengals, who took over at their own 16-yard line.  Once again, the Chargers forced a three and out, giving them the ball back with 22 seconds left at their own 26-yard line.    After one Danny Woodhead run, the clock ran out with the game tied heading into halftime.

The Bengals got near midfield to start the half, but the defense forced an intentional grounding on third down to change possession. A punishing run by Mathews followed by a 15-yard pass to Green putting the ball at midfield. It looked like Gates picked up another first down, but Dre Kirkpatrick wrestled the ball out of his hands for what was ruled an interception.  The Bengals used the change in momentum to mount their best drive since their opening touchdown.   Moving the ball down to the San Diego 21-yard line, Dalton found a wide open A.J. Green in the middle of the end zone on a blown coverage that gave the visitors a 14-7 lead. Undeterred, the Bolts were on the move as the third quarter came to a close with the ball at their own 45-yard line.

San Diego managed to get the ball to the Cincy 39-yard line, but after Ladarius Green couldn’t come up with a tough catch, they were forced to punt as Scifres landed one at the 10-yard line.  On third down, Andrew Hawkins took a pass and ran 50 yards to the Chargers 32-yard line.  The Bolts defense held strong after that, limiting the damage to a 46-yard field goal by Mike Nugent that gave the Bengals a 10 point lead, 17-7.  On second down, Keenan Allen coughed the ball up as he lunged for a first down, giving Cincinnati the ball at the San Diego 34-yard line.  Marcus Gilchrist gave the Bolts some life as he jarred the ball loose from Green-Ellis that Weddle recovered.  The Chargers made it a one score game after Nick Novak connected from 48 yards out. The ensuing drive proved the Bengals offense to be too much for the Bolts to stop as they marched deep into Chargers territory.  The Bengals took a knee to wind down the clock to zero with the victory.

Turning Point

Midway through the third quarter with the game tied 7-7, the Chargers faced a 3rd-and-6 at the Cincinnati 30-yard line.  At the very least, it appeared as though they would have the opportunity to attempt a Nick Novak field goal to take the lead.  Instead, Antonio Gates had the ball wrestled out of his hands by Dre Kirkpatrick for what went down as an interception.  On the ensuing drive, Andy Dalton found A.J. Green wide open in the end zone on a blown coverage to give the Bengals a 14-7 lead that they would never relinquish. 

It was Over When…

After a field goal narrowed the Bengals lead to 17-10 with 4:48 remaining, the Chargers defense needed a stop.  On the first play from scrimmage, Andy Dalton connected with A.J. Green for 28 yards down to the Chargers 38-yard line.  The Bengals converted two more first downs and then ran out the clock to leave with the win.

Play of the Game

Faking a play-action handoff on first down, Philip Rivers fired one up the seam to Ladarius Green, who ran 30 yards to pay-dirt for the Chargers lone touchdown of the day.

Stat of the Game

The 10 points the Chargers scored on the day were the fewest posted all season.

Bolt Quotebook

“We lost the game.  Anytime you lose a game it’s a lost opportunity.  It doesn’t matter what week of the season, when you lose, you lose.  We have an opportunity to win every football game.  We didn’t make enough plays today.  It comes down to that.” – Head Coach Mike McCoy

“We just weren’t consistent enough.  We crossed the 50 I don’t know how many times, but we didn’t finish drives.  And it’s not just the turnovers.  Obviously those we know, but there were other drives that we just didn’t finish and we punted near midfield.” – Quarterback Philip Rivers

 “Like I said before, our good plays are great and our bad plays are really bad.  Football is a game of mistakes and the team that limits those mistakes usually wins.  We’ve got to come back and work and make sure the good plays stay good and that we continue with those and limit the bad plays.  That’s football.” – Linebacker Manti Te’o

“At the end, they just got some plays on us.  We couldn’t really stop the run. We’ve got to look at the film tomorrow and correct those mistakes.  Of course we had mistakes and that’s where the breakdown happened in the defense.” – Cornerback Richard Marshall

“We’re looking forward to fighting for one another and getting after it.  The New York Giants are coming to town and we’re looking forward to it.  This is what it’s all about.  It’s about sticking together and fighting together and protecting the guys next to you.  That’s football” – Center Nick Hardwick

“We’ve got three more home games.  We’ve got to go to Denver and take care of them and win out.  We’ve been thinking that for the past two weeks.  It’s nothing new with this loss, we’ve just got to stick it out.” – Cornerback Shareece Wright

Odds and Ends

Philip Rivers finished 23 of 37 for 252 yards, one touchdown and one interception for a passer rating of 80.0.

Keenan Allen led all receivers with 106 yards on eight catches.

Ryan Mathews led all Chargers with 14 carries for 61 yards, averaging 4.4 yards per carry.

Donald Butler paced all tacklers with 10.

Eric Weddle recorded his first interception of the season, and then recovered a fumble that Marcus Gilchrist forced.

Inactives for the Chargers included Brad Sorensen, Eddie Royal, Brandon Taylor, Willie Smith, King Dunlap, Kwame Geathers and Jarret Johnson.

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