Allen, who has played like a grizzled veteran all season, was initially ruled down. But after review, it was clear he committed the team's third turnover of the day.
The Chargers started the quarter off with a drive that sputtered at the Bengals' 39-yard line.
The Bengals mounted a scoring drive to widen their lead to two scores. But
Down 17-7, Rivers and the offense set up to try and dig out of their fourth-quarter hole. Instead, Allen fumbled.
Weddle gave the Bolts hope when he forced BenJarvus Green-Ellis to fumble and returned the ball 27 yards. It set up Novak's kick and made the game a one-score affair, but the Bengals ran the ball effectively enough on their next drive to make sure that's as close as the Chargers would get to a comeback.
The Chargers defense stymied the Bengals to open the quarter, and
A.J. Green capped that drive with his third -- and easiest -- catch of the day. He lost a cluster of Chargers defenders and streaked down the right hashmark for a 21-yard touchdown.
But the Bolts offense is on the move again to start the fourth quarter thanks to a big 15-yard catch by
His 30-yard touchdown catch answered a BenJarvus Green-Ellis touchdown earlier in the quarter and tied
Green's second score in as many weeks came courtesy of a few delayed runs by Ryan Mathews. Philip Rivers handed the ball to Mathews on two draw plays for minimal gain during the Chargers' third drive early in the quarter. The Bengals defense bit when Rivers put the ball in Mathews' stomach a third time -- and paid the price when Green snuck behind them for his second score in as many weeks.
The Bengals tried to answer later in the quarter, but Weddle had other plans.
A.J. Green picked up 17 yards on a wide receiver screen on the play preceding Weddle’s pick, but when Andy Dalton threw his way again, the passer overshot his standout wideout. In double coverage,
That turnover gave Rivers a chance to do what he does best -- run the two-minute drill. But the Bengals defense stood strong and rushed Rivers' throws, and the Chargers had to punt.
A.J. Green leapt to secure his first catch of the game -- but ended up with a helmet in his chest.
Richard Marshall blanketed the wide receiver on third down to force an early three-and-out. It erased any potential damage that an early Antonio Gates fumble could deal, and after one quarter, the Bolts and the Bengals are scoreless.
Gates and the Chargers offense marched right down the field on the game’s opening possession. Philip
Gates snatched his third pass over the middle, but Bengals safety Reggie Nelson popped it out. The ruling was upheld after a review, but the Bengals couldn't move the chains thanks to the good coverage and big hit from Marshall.
The Bolts punted on the ensuing possession when Philip Rivers was sacked on third down. From there, the Bengals mounted their next drive with chunk runs by BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Giovani Bernard.
You can’t ask for much more out of a Sunday in December if you’re a Bolts fan.
The San Diego Chargers (5-6) will don the powder blues to take on the AFC North-leading Cincinnati Bengals (7-4) at 1:25PM. And if two teams jockeying for playoff position isn’t enough, Qualcomm Stadium will also play host as the Chargers celebrate the 50th Anniversary of their 1963 AFL Championship – and welcome a few special guests in the process.
On the field, Philip Rivers has the offense clicking on all cylinders. He enters the game with a 26-5 record as a starter in December and ranks third all-time with a 98.4 career passer rating during the month. The ten-year veteran was nearly unstoppable in an emotional victory last week, and he’ll try to repeat that outcome by throwing to his stable of dangerous pass-catchers. Rivers has proven targets in both veteran tight end Antonio Gates and jack-of-all-trades running back
Andy Dalton has proven all season that he’s a dangerous road quarterback. When the Bengals travel, their third-year passer averages just over 330 yards through the air thanks to some top-shelf receivers. Chief among them is all-NFL wideout A.J. Green, who’s tied for the most 100-yard receiving games in the league this season (6). Jermaine Gresham and rookie Tyler Eifert form a potent one-two punch at tight end. The same can be said for the tandem of Giovani Bernard and BenJarvus Green-Ellis on the ground for the Bengals. Bernard, like Allen, is a dangerous rookie with his hands on the ball. And his counterpart Green-Ellis rushed for 125 yards the last time he played the Bolts.
Stay tuned to Chargers.com for all the latest news and updates from Bolts-Bengals.