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(Sunday, December 6th)
Final Score: Cincinnati 23, Detroit 13
Cincinnati, OH (Sports Network) - Carson Palmer went 17-for-29 with 220 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions as the Cincinnati Bengals took a 23-13 win over the Detroit Lions.
Chad Ochocinco had nine catches for 137 yards and a score while Cedric Benson, who missed the past two games with a hip injury, had 36 carries for 110 yards for the Bengals (9-3), who have won five of six.
"It was not a great day offensively for me or the team," said Palmer. "But we were able to pull out a win and when it comes down to it, a win is a win and we need all of those that we can get."
Jonathan Fanene had an interception return for a touchdown for Cincinnati, which has a 2 1/2-game lead over Baltimore for first place in the AFC North. The Ravens play Monday night against Green Bay.
"My message to the team is that we did what we needed to do to win the game," said Cincinnati head coach Marvin Lewis. "We did some good things on offense today such as getting the ball moving and controlling the clock. Defensively we did a pretty good job, too."
Matthew Stafford went 11-for-26 with 143 yards, one score and two interceptions while Calvin Johnson had six catches for 123 yards and a touchdown for the Lions (2-10), who have dropped their past two games. Kevin Smith had 16 carries for 75 yards and a score in the loss.
"They were able to make positive plays and we didn't," said Detroit head coach Jim Schwartz. "We were able to get the initial lead, but we gave that back. We fought to the end and I'm proud of the effort our guys put out."
A turnover led to the first points of the game as Palmer was picked off by William James near midfield. On the next play, Stafford hit Johnson in stride with a deep bomb for a 54-yard score with 3:27 left in the first.
It was a turnover that led to Cincinnati's first score. Stafford stepped back on an a screen play, but Michael Johnson was in his face and tipped the throw. Fanene grabbed the pop up and raced into the end zone on a 45-yard score with 11:50 left in the first half to tie the game.
After holding the Lions to a three-and-out, the Bengals took the lead. On the eighth play of the drive with the ball at the Detroit 36, Palmer heaved the ball down field to the back of the end zone where Ochocinco made a sliding catch for a 14-7 advantage with 5:55 to play in the half.
Detroit got a 42-yard kickoff return from Aaron Brown on the ensuing kickoff, but was only able to move the ball eight yards and Jason Hanson's 55-yard field goal attempt hit off crossbar and bounced out.
A 44-yard field goal from Shayne Graham near the close of the first half gave the home team a 17-7 lead heading into the break.
The Bengals started the second half with the ball and were able to increase their lead on a 39-yard field goal from Graham with 8:03 left in the third.
Detroit was held to a three-and-out on its following touch, but Palmer fumbled the ball on a sack and the Lions recovered at midfield. However, they were unable to move the ball and had to punt away.
Cincinnati then went on a drive that ate up almost 10 minutes of the clock over 17 plays and a 23-yard field goal from Graham made it a 23-7 game with 8:11 left to play.
Smith's two-yard touchdown run with 1:36 to play made it a 23-13 game as Detroit attempted the two-point conversion but failed.
Detroit plays at Baltimore next Sunday...The Bengals play at Minnesota next Sunday...Fanene's pick was the first of his career...Cincinnati leads the series with Detroit, 7-3, and has won four straight...Smith added two catches for 29 yards...The Bengals had three sacks in the game...Cincinnati controlled the ball for almost 39 minutes.
12/06 18:06:02 ET