NFL Game Summary - San Diego at Cincinnati|
(Sunday, January 5th)
Final Score: San Diego 27, Cincinnati 10
Cincinnati, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - The Chargers snuck into the playoffs on
the final day of the regular season with a little help from the Bengals, and
San Diego unabashedly gave thanks by continuing Cincinnati's postseason misery
Philip Rivers played mistake-free ball and the plucky Chargers took advantage
of three second-half turnovers from Andy Dalton to knock off the favored
Bengals, 27-10, in the Wild Card Round of the AFC playoffs.
Dalton got sloppy when a mix of rain and snow began falling at Paul Brown
Stadium, throwing two interceptions and losing a fumble that the Bengals, who
have not won a postseason game since 1991, couldn't overcome.
It was the first loss at home by Cincinnati the entire season.
"It's disappointing. All the good stuff we did this year, to come out and not
win this game it hurts," said Dalton, who has lost all three of his postseason
starts. "We didn't do enough to win."
Rivers threw for a modest 128 yards but tossed a go-ahead touchdown pass to
Ladarius Green in the third quarter that started a string of 20 unanswered
points that earned San Diego a trip to Denver next Sunday to face the top-
"It was an outstanding team effort," said first-year Chargers head coach Mike
McCoy, who was the Broncos' offensive coordinator the previous three seasons.
"We knew it was going to be a slugfest from the first snap all the way through
The Chargers had everything go their way in Week 17, as the Bengals beat the
Ravens, the Jets beat the Dolphins and they upended the Chiefs in a
controversial overtime finish to steal the AFC's final wild card berth.
They only had two sustained drives on Sunday, but they proved to be enough to
keep the surprising playoff run going.
After failing to even gain a first down in the second quarter, San Diego used
a combination of runs and passes during a 10-play, 80-yard trek to jump in
front, 14-10, with 6:46 left in the third.
Green hauled in Rivers' 4-yard jump ball in the corner of the end zone, and
San Diego settled for a pair field goals following two Dalton turnovers to
extend the lead.
Dalton, trying to dive for a first down, lost the ball upon contact with the
ground, and since he wasn't touched, the play was ruled a fumble that the
Chargers turned into a 25-yard field goal by Nick Novak with two minutes to go
until the final stanza.
Shareece Wright's 30-yard interception return set up Novak's 23-yard kick
early in the fourth, and the Bengals' next two possessions ended in another
interception and a turnover on downs.
Ronnie Brown put the game away with a late 58-yard TD run, and Cincinnati fans
were sent home from Paul Brown Stadium disappointed for the first time this
season, but with a feeling not unfamiliar to them come playoff time.
San Diego's balanced 12-play, 86-yard drive in the opening quarter gave the
visitors the early lead. Rivers completed all three of his passes for 42 yards
on the seven-minute march, and Ryan Mathews carried the load on the ground
before Danny Woodhead capped it with a five-yard touchdown run.
The Bengals, after punting in Chargers territory their first two times with
the ball, started their third drive at their own 40-yard line, and it didn't
take long for a series of runs by BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Gio Bernard set
the stage for Dalton's first career postseason touchdown pass.
Dalton barely released the ball before getting blind-sided by Melvin Ingram,
and Jermaine Gresham pulled down the toss and carried a defender with him into
the end zone for a 4-yard score with 5:59 remaining in the half.
Cincy was on the doorstep again thanks to Marvin Jones' diving 49-yard catch
just before the two-minute warning, but Bernard was stripped from behind by
Donald Butler just before the goal line.
The Bengals forced a third straight three-and-out to get the ball back, and
Mike Nugent's 46-yard field goal sent them into the break with a 10-7 lead.
The Chargers' last road playoff win came against the Colts in the Divisional
Round of the 2007 playoffs ... Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis fell to 0-5
all-time in playoff games ... Dalton finished with 334 yards on 29-of-51
passing ... Bengals star receiver A.J. Green was limited to three catches for
34 yards, while Jones led the way with 130 yards on eight receptions ... The
Chargers had 196 rushing yards to Cincinnati's 113 ... The Bengals last
postseason win came against the old Houston Oilers in a wild-card game on Jan.
6, 1991 ... Cincinnati won in San Diego, 20-13, on Dec. 2.
01/05 17:59:32 ET