With a chance at the plaoyffs on the line, the Bengals came out clicking on all cylinders and pounced on the Arizona Cardinals early. Behind a relentless pass-rush, the defense forced three John Skelton interceptions and sacked him five times. Behind a balanced rushing attack, with 156 yards from Benson, Scott, and Dalton, the offense kept Arizona’s offense on the sideline for much of the game. Andy Dalton threw both of the Bengals’ only touchdowns, and coupled with three Mike Nugent field goals, the Bengals held a 23-0 lead in the 4th-quarter. What happened next can only be described as a near-epic meltdown.
Larry Fitzgerald caught a 30-yard TD pass from John Skelton to cut the lead 23-7 early in the 4th-quarter. Cedric Benson would fumble of the Bengals’ next possession and the Cardinals capitalized with a Jeff King 2-yard TD pass from John Skelton to cut the lead to 23-13 after a failed 2-point conversion. The Bengals would punt on the next possession and the Cardinals would drive 68 yards and Jay Feely kicked a 29-yard field goal to cut the lead to a mere 23-16. Cedric Benson would then have a costly fumble to give Arizona the ball at the Cincinnati 22-yard line. On 4th-and-5, Skelton dropped back and fired to a wide open Early Doucet in the endzone, but Doucet tripped and fell, courtesy of the dreaded turf monster, and the pass went incomplete. The Cardinals would get another chance after a Bengals 3-and-out, but after driving down to the Cincinnati 15-yard line, the game clock ran out, and the Bengals squeaked out a 23-16 win.
Jermaine Gresham led the Bengals with 56 yards and a touchdown on five receptions. Andy Dalton completed 18-of-31 passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns and added five rushes for 48 yards. Jonathan Fanene continued his improved play with two sacks and now has three in the last two games after managing only three in the first 13 games.