|Date of game: 9/14/2014
Recap: Cincinnati vs. Atlanta
Cincinnati, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - Andy Dalton threw for 252 yards and the Cincinnati defense picked off Matt Ryan three times, as the Bengals claimed a 24-10 decision over the Atlanta Falcons in Week 2 action.
Dalton completed 15-of-23 passes and connected with Mohamed Sanu for a 76-yard score for the Bengals (2-0), who took a 23-16 season-opening victory over Baltimore.
Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill combined for 164 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 42 carries, while Bernard added 79 yards on five receptions. A.J. Green, last week's hero, left the game with a toe injury and did not return, but an MRI taken on the toe proved negative.
"We got exactly what we needed to have," Dalton said. "I think the offense was really balanced. Once we got the lead, we could focus on running the ball and eating up the clock."
Ryan ended up with 231 yards passing and one touchdown on just 24-of-44 efficiency for the Falcons (1-1), who couldn't maintain momentum from a season-opening overtime win against the Saints.
Julio Jones recorded Atlanta's lone TD, finishing with a game-high 88 yards on seven catches, as Steven Jackson was limited to 46 yards on 11 carries.
Cincy extended its lead to 17-3 on its second drive of the third quarter, as Sanu broke free up the middle for a 76-yard strike from Dalton. Two plays later, Ryan was picked off by Leon Hall and the Bengals moved 43 yards in eight plays, culminating in Hill's 1-yard run for a 24-3 contest.
Ryan found Jones in the front-left corner of the end zone with 8:35 to play and the Falcons were within two scores, but the visitors' final two possessions yielded negative results.
Pinned within the shadow of their own goal line, Atlanta moved 11 yards before being forced to punt. They received the ball back with 2:18 to play, but moved a total of three yards before Ryan was intercepted by George Iloka inside of 30 seconds remaining.
"At the half, we knew we were right in the game," Ryan lamented. "But when you turn the ball over three times, you're not going to win. I have to be better. That's the way it goes sometimes."
Mike Nugent's 31-yard make capped Cincinnati's first drive of the contest a series which bled 9:41 off the clock and lasted 13 plays, then Matt Bryant responded before the end of the opening quarter by connecting from 46 yards out.
Nugent then missed his next two opportunities, but Bernard's 4-yard run to paydirt with 2:11 left in the half gave the hosts a 10-3 edge. Bernard sparked the drive with a catch-and-run for 46 yards to the Atlanta 30 on 2nd-and-7.
Nugent lined up for a 55-yarder at the end of the half, but the wind pushed it wide left just before the upright and the Bengals lead stood at seven points.Game Notes
Cincinnati snapped a three-game losing streak to Atlanta, and won against the
Falcons for the first time since a 41-31 result on Nov. 24, 1996 ... After
going 5-for-5 in last week's season-opening win at Baltimore, Nugent finished
1-for-4 on Sunday ... The Bengals, who welcomed back linebacker Vontaze
Burfict after his concussion last week, ensured that defensive tackle Devon
Still was active for the game. Still, whose daughter Leah has been diagnosed
with cancer, started the season on the practice squad but was elevated to the
active roster to aid in his daughter's recovery efforts.