Bengals defense stifles Seahawks
Seattle falls 34-12
Sunday, October 30, 2011
SEATTLE — The Cincinnati Bengals are using their defense and a couple of rookies on offense to stay in the AFC North race.
Quarterback Andy Dalton threw a pair of first-half touchdown passes, one to fellow rookie A.J. Green, Brandon Tate returned a punt 56 yards for a touchdown with 3:22 left and the Bengals won their fourth straight with a 34-12 win over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
Dalton tossed TDs of 14 yards to Jerome Simpson and a beautiful 43-yarder that dropped into the arms of Green in the second quarter to give the Bengals a 17-3 lead.
From there, the Bengals (5-2) leaned on their impressive defense that bent, but managed to keep Seattle out of the end zone until the fourth quarter.
The Bengals are tied with the Ravens for second place in the AFC North, with both teams a half game behind Pittsburgh (6-2).
The Seahawks (2-5) were flustered to the point where running back Marshawn Lynch was barking at coaches on the bench after Seattle was held to a field goal on the final play of the third quarter — the second time they were stymied inside the 10.
The victory made Marvin Lewis the winningest coach in Bengals history with 65 career wins.
Dalton made mistakes in the second half throwing a pair of interceptions and the Bengals managed only 252 yards of total offense.
That proved to be enough thanks to special teams, defense and plenty of flubs from the struggling Seahawks.
Dalton, whom Seattle passed on in April’s draft by using its late first-round pick on right tackle James Carpenter instead of the quarterback out of TCU, was 18 of 29 for 168 yards. Green finished with four catches for 63 yards.
Mike Nugent made two field goals, including a 48-yarder with 4:50 left to give the Bengals a 20-12 lead. The field goal capped a drive where Cincinnati used 4:05 off the clock and forced Seattle to get a touchdown and 2-point conversion to tie.
It was a moot point. Seattle went three-and-out on the ensuing possession and Tate, filling in for Adam Jones who was injured in the first quarter, caught Jon Ryan’s punt and sprinted nearly untouched to seal the victory.
It was Cincinnati’s first punt return for a score since 2003.
As a capper, Reggie Nelson intercepted Seattle QB Tarvaris Jackson and raced 75 yards for a touchdown with 36 seconds left.
While Cincinnati continued its roll, the Seahawks put together a maddening and confusing day that started when receiver Mike Williams was surprisingly inactive after not being listed on any injury reports all week.
Then came a confusing game of quarterback roulette and never hitting on the right number.
Jackson, who missed last week’s loss at Cleveland with a strained pectoral, was listed as the starter, only to see Charlie Whitehurst jog out to start the game under center.
But with Whitehurst ineffective at getting the Seahawks moving, he was pulled early in the second quarter and Jackson went the rest of the way.
Jackson finished 21 of 40 for a career-high 323 yards in just 2½ quarters, while Whitehurst was 4 of 7 for 52 yards and was sacked twice in his limited appearance.
Despite all of Seattle’s problems, they trailed only 17-12 with 8:55 left after Lynch plowed in on a 2-yard TD run.
It was Seattle’s first TD since the fourth quarter of its win over the New York Giants on Oct. 9. The score only accentuated Seattle’s time management flub at the end of the first half.
Seattle finally got a little bit clicking offensively before halftime, driving inside the Bengals 5, but Zach Miller was stopped 2 yards short of a first down at the Cincinnati 3.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll used his final timeout and decided to go for it on fourth down, running an inside handoff to Lynch with 14 seconds remaining.
Lynch was tripped up short of the goal line and the ball never got spotted in time for Seattle to spike the ball and run another play.
Jackson screamed at referee Tony Corrente, his voice getting transmitted through the open microphone and Carroll slammed his headset on the turf as he marched on the field demanding an explanation.
Carroll clearly didn’t take his own advice from a year ago, when in a win over San Diego a similar circumstance happened and the Seahawks were left watching the first-half clock expire without any points. After that mistake, Carroll said he was “too bold,” and would learn from the time management miscue.
Jones made his return for the first time in a year, having not played since the sixth game of last season with a neck injury. He left with a hamstring injury after taking a punt return back 63 yards in the first quarter.
The Bengals also won without starting running back Cedric Benson, who was serving a one-game suspension for violating the NFL’s conduct policy. Bernard Scott made his first start since the end of the 2009 season and rushed for 76 yards on 22 carries.
BENGALS 34, SEAHAWKS 12
Cincinnati 10 7 0 17—34
Seattle 0 3 3 6—12
Cin—FG Nugent 34, 6:44. Drive: 12 plays, 58 yards, 8:16. Key Plays: Dalton 8 pass to Caldwell on 3rd-and-6; Browner 15-yard personal foul penalty; Scott 11 run; Dalton 6 pass to Leonard on 3rd-and-5; Dalton 10 pass to Caldwell. Cincinnati 3, Seattle 0.
Cin—Simpson 14 pass from Dalton (Nugent kick), 3:47. Drive: 3 plays, 26 yards, 1:12. Key Play: Jones 63 punt return to Seattle 26. Cincinnati 10, Seattle 0.
Sea—FG Hauschka 47, 14:55. Drive: 9 plays, 50 yards, 3:52. Key Plays: Nelson 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty; Whitehurst 17 pass to Miller; Whitehurst 15 pass to Rice; Whitehurst 13 pass to Obomanu. Cincinnati 10, Seattle 3.
Cin—Green 43 pass from Dalton (Nugent kick), 1:51. Drive: 8 plays, 84 yards, 3:36. Key Plays: Bryant 6-yard encroachment penalty on 3rd-and-1; Browner 14-yard defensive pass interference penalty on 3rd-and-6; Dalton 14 pass to Lee on 3rd-and-11. Cincinnati 17, Seattle 3.
Sea—FG Hauschka 25, :04. Drive: 9 plays, 84 yards, 4:22. Key Plays: Sherman interception at Seattle 9; Jackson 55 pass to Obomanu; Jackson 15 pass to Rice. Cincinnati 17, Seattle 6.
Sea—Lynch 2 run (pass failed), 8:55. Drive: 7 plays, 79 yards, 3:34. Key Plays: Chancellor 8 interception return to Seattle 21; Jackson 31 pass to Baldwin on 3rd-and-11; Jackson 35 pass to Rice. Cincinnati 17, Seattle 12.
Cin—FG Nugent 48, 4:50. Drive: 6 plays, 32 yards, 4:05. Key Plays: Tate 45 kickoff return to Cincinnati 38; Scott 16 run. Cincinnati 20, Seattle 12.
Cin—Tate 56 punt return (Nugent kick), 3:22. Cincinnati 27, Seattle 12.
Cin—Nelson 75 interception return (Nugent kick), :36. Cincinnati 34, Seattle 12.
FIRST DOWNS 18 20
Rushing 4 5
Passing 9 14
Penalty 5 1
THIRD DOWN EFF 6-14 5-15
FOURTH DOWN EFF 0-0 1-2
TOTAL NET YARDS 252 411
Total Plays 57 71
Avg Gain 4.4 5.8
NET YARDS RUSHING 92 61
Rushes 27 20
Avg per rush 3.4 3.1
NET YARDS PASSING 160 350
Sacked-Yds lost 1-8 4-25
Gross-Yds passing 168 375
Completed-Att. 18-29 25-47
Had Intercepted 2 1
Yards-Pass Play 5.3 6.9
KICKOFFS-EndZone-TB 7-6-1 4-3-0
PUNTS-Avg. 5-45.2 6-53.3
Punts blocked 0 0
FGs-PATs blocked 0-0 0-0
TOTAL RETURN YARDAGE 324 199
Punt Returns 4-136 3-38
Kickoff Returns 4-113 6-153
Interceptions 1-75 2-8
PENALTIES-Yds 7-65 11-80
FUMBLES-Lost 0-0 1-1
TIME OF POSSESSION 31:27 28:33
RUSHING—Cincinnati, Scott 22-76, Leonard 2-7, Hawkins 1-6, Dalton 2-3. Seattle, Washington 2-34, Lynch 16-24, Jackson 1-2, Whitehurst 1-1.
PASSING—Cincinnati, Dalton 18-29-2-168. Seattle, Jackson 21-40-1-323, Whitehurst 4-7-0-52.
RECEIVING—Cincinnati, Green 4-63, Caldwell 4-31, Lee 3-44, Scott 3-0, Leonard 2-10, Simpson 1-14, Pressley 1-6. Seattle, Rice 7-102, Baldwin 5-73, Obomanu 4-107, Miller 3-37, Morrah 2-21, Tate 2-11, Forsett 1-13, Robinson 1-11.
PUNT RETURNS—Cincinnati, Tate 3-73, Jones 1-63. Seattle, Washington 3-38.
KICKOFF RETURNS—Cincinnati, Tate 4-113. Seattle, Washington 5-142, Forsett 1-11.
TACKLES-ASSISTS-SACKS—Cincinnati, Hall 8-1-0, Nelson 5-0-0, Peko 4-1-0, Crocker 4-0-1, Jennings 4-0-0, B.Johnson 3-4-0, Lawson 3-1-0, Wilson 3-1-0, Howard 2-2-0, Dunlap 2-1-1, Clements 2-0-0, Peerman 2-0-0, Skuta 1-2-0, Rucker 1-0-1, Atkins 1-0-1, Green 1-0-0, Leonard 1-0-0, Mays 1-0-0, Miles 1-0-0, Rey 1-0-0, Sims 0-1-0. Seattle, Hill 5-0-0, Thomas 4-6-0, Chancellor 4-3-0, Hawthorne 4-2-0, Sherman 4-1-0, Wright 4-0-0, Farwell 3-0-0, Lewis 2-2-0, Browner 2-0-0, Mebane 1-3-0, Hargrove 1-1-1, Bigby 1-0-0, Branch 1-0-0, Clemons 1-0-0, Gallery 1-0-0, Robinson 1-0-0, Ryan 1-0-0, Brock 0-1-0, Bryant 0-1-0, McDonald 0-1-0, Smith 0-1-0.
INTERCEPTIONS—Cincinnati, Nelson 1-75. Seattle, Chancellor 1-8, Sherman 1-0.
MISSED FIELD GOALS—None.
OFFICIALS—Referee Tony Corrente, Ump Fred Bryan, HL John McGrath, LJ Darryll Lewis, FJ Gary Cavaletto, SJ Allen Baynes, BJ Greg Wilson, Replay Howard Slavin.