3. Bengals 31, Cardinals 34
The Bengals’ second loss of the 2015 season put the team in a bad spot, as Cincinnati endured its first and only multiple-game losing streak of 2015. However, the game–which ended up with a result Bengals fans didn’t want to see–was a game for the ages.
Dalton and Palmer combined to pass for over 575 yards, completing 42 of 70 passes. Palmer tossed two interceptions and fumbled, and Dalton fumbled twice. Despite the turnovers, however, the two quarterbacks still played some incredibly efficient football against two of the NFL’s best defenses. The two quarterbacks threw six touchdown passes, and both passers averaged over eight yards per attempt.
Neither team seemed to be very effective running the ball. Chris Johnson led the game with 63 yards rushing, but his longest run of the night only went for nine yards. Jeremy Hill scored two touchdowns for the Bengals, but he only averaged three and a half yards per carry.
Giovani Bernard was the Bengals’ best offensive weapon, taking a couple of screen passes for huge gains and ending the game with 146 yards from scrimmage. Tyler Eifert made a couple of amazing touchdown grabs, and A.J. Green contributed 79 yards receiving on four catches. Marvin Jones even added 60 yards through the air.
JJ Nelson and Larry Fitzgerald were all the Cardinals needed. Nelson led the game with 142 receiving yards on only four catches. He, John Brown, Darren Fells and David Johnson all scored touchdowns for the Cards. Fitzgerald was clutch for Arizona, racking up 90 receiving yards. He made multiple critical catches on the game’s final possession, helping the Cardinals come out with the win.
What made this game fun was the Bengals’ attempt to come back. Arizona scored 21 unanswered points in the the third quarter, taking a 14-point lead and frustrating the Bengals to the point where many fans didn’t have faith Cincinnati could come back. And while the Bengals didn’t win the game, they definitely made a valiant comeback attempt, coming a heel inbounds away from winning the game.
What made this game special:
The Bengals showed that they can hang with anyone, at home or on the road. The Cardinals are easily one of the NFL’s three best teams, and the Bengals outplayed them in three of the four quarters of this game.
Be sure to check out the longform piece I wrote after attending this game for more on why it was so good.
Next: 2. Bengals 17, Broncos 20 (OT)