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(Sunday, November 6th)
Final Score: Cincinnati 24, Tennessee 17
Nashville, TN (Sports Network) - Andy Dalton threw for 217 yards and three scores, leading the Bengals to their first five-game winning streak in 23 years, as Cincinnati defeated the Tennessee Titans, 24-17.
The Bengals (6-2) dominated the second half, outscoring Tennessee 17-0, and limiting the Titans to just 95 yards.
"We couldn't get first downs in the second half, too many three-and-outs," Titans guard Jake Scott said.
A.J. Green caught seven balls for 83 yards, Jerome Simpson had 43 yards and a score on three receptions and Donald Lee hauled in three passes for 49 yards.
"That's why we drafted him, we felt that he could make a difference as a rookie," Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said of Green.
"Lots of people say Andy (Dalton) and I don't look like rookies, we just take every rep and try to make it better each week," Green said.
Cedric Benson returned following a one-game suspension and ran for 78 yards on 20 carries for the Bengals, who have won five straight for the first time since 1988 when Cincinnati won its first six games of the season.
Matt Hasselbeck completed 24-of-41 passes for 272 yards and two touchdowns for Tennessee (4-4), which has dropped three of its last four games.
Chris Johnson carried the ball 14 times for 64 yards, and added 46 yards receiving.
Lavelle Hawkins caught five passes for 63 yards and a score, and Jared Cook had four receptions for 47 yards.
Jason McCourty committed a 45-yard pass interference penalty as Green went up for a leaping grab at the 20-yard line midway through the third quarter. Three plays later, Dalton found Simpson over the middle for a 15-yard score to bring the Bengals within 17-14.
After a Titans punt, Dalton led his troops down the field again to give the Bengals a 21-17 lead early in the fourth quarter. Green had a 23-yard reception and then moved the chains with a 20-yard catch to the seven-yard line on 3rd-and-18.
Andre Caldwell concluded the lengthy 13-play, 75-yard drive with a five-yard TD catch on 3rd-and-goal. The rookie Dalton was 6-of-8 for 59 yards on the possession which took 6:55 off the clock.
It looked as if the Bengals put the game away late in the fourth as Carlos Dunlap batted away Hasselbeck's pass at the line of scrimmage. On the field, the officials ruled the play as a backwards pass as Dunlap scooped up the ball and returned it 21 yards. But after review, the officials overturned the ruling on the field. The Titans couldn't take advantage as they were held to another three-and-out.
The Titans used their final two timeouts and forced a Cincinnati three-and-out as Tennessee took over at its own 12-yard line with 4:04 to go.
But Cook fumbled on Tennessee's first offensive play as Nate Clements recovered the ball at the 20-yard line. The turnover led to a 35-yard field goal by Mike Nugent, giving the Bengals a 24-17 lead with 1:55 remaining in regulation.
The Titans started their ensuing drive at the 20-yard line, but did little on offense as time expired.
Johnson had a 20-yard run and a 21-yard reception to highlight a nine-play, 55-yard drive which resulted in a Rob Bironas 43-yard field goal to put the Titans on the board first midway through the first quarter.
The Bengals took a 7-3 lead early in the second quarter with an 11-play, 68- yard scoring drive. Lee caught passes of 22 and 25 yards before Colin Cochart hauled in a one-yard score.
Tennessee answered on its ensuing possession when Damian Williams came down with a five-yard score in the back of the end zone to make it 10-7. Hawkins moved the chains with a five-yard reception on 4th-and-3 to highlight the nine-play, 78-yard drive.
After a Cincinnati punt, the Titans marched 81 yards in 12 plays before Hawkins caught a 16-yard TD pass in the back right corner of the end zone to make it 17-7 at halftime. Calmly and cooly, Hasselbeck completed 6-of-9 passes for 68 yards on the drive.
The 1988 Bengals finished the season at 12-4 before losing to the San Francisco 49ers 20-16 in Super Bowl XXIII...Cincinnati squares off with the Pittsburgh Steelers next Sunday for first place in the AFC North, while the Titans head to Carolina to play the Panthers.
11/06 22:09:15 ET