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Bengals Down Chargers to Win 4th-Straight, Keep Playoff Hopes Alive

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Dec 2, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) throws a pass in warm-ups before a game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

As Andy Dalton took a run up the middle, and the football broke the goal-line plane, the Cincinnati Bengals finally scored the touchdown that had alluded them the entire second half.

Up until that point, the skies had looked very cloudy for Cincinnati fans. After the offensive momentum for both teams faded at half-time, the latter thirty minutes ultimately became a defensive contest. One in which the entire game became jockeying for field position.

The Bengals received first, but Brandon Tate bobbled the football on the return. He managed to get it out to just the 9 yard-line. That certainly didn’t stop Cincinnati from moving the ball 91 yards on sixteen plays, their longest drive of the season.

The resulting touchdown didn’t secure the lead for long. After getting the ball a second time, Dalton looked for A. J. Green on a quick slant. The only problem was that a Chargers player was sitting on it for an ensuing pick-six.

The offense continued, and the score shifted to a 10-all tie. That was before Philip Rivers led the San Diego offense to inside the Cincinnati 5 yard-line, for a short field goal before half-time.

The score stayed 13-10 until just over four minutes to play in the fourth quarter. On the aforementioned run by Dalton, the Bengals took a 17-13 lead.

Carlos Dunlap then executed the play that ended up saving the Bengals. After getting to Philip Rivers on a pass play, he swatted the ball out of Rivers’ hands, and promptly fell on top of it for an important change of possession.

The Chargers limited the Bengals to a field goal, and then the late-game drama unfolded..

Rivers led the Chargers down the field on several different pass plays to his receivers over the middle. By the two-minute warning, they had crossed into Cincinnati territory, and the stadium noise had begun to increase. Skip forward a few plays and the Bengals defense faced an opposing first-and-ten on their own 17 yard-line.

With the goal-line at their backs, the Bengals thwarted three straight pass attempts to the end zone, setting up a fourth-and-ten to decide the game. Reggie Nelson crossed in front of Rivers’ target and intercepted the football in the end zone.

With two quick kneels by quarterback Andy Dalton, the Bengals moved to 7-5 on the season.

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