A turnover-fueled second half scoring barrage kept the Cincinnati Bengals from taking a costly blow to their postseason hopes in a 34-13 win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night.
The win temporarily moves the Bengals (8-6) into the final playoff in the AFC as they take a half-game lead over the Pittsburgh Steelers for the final Wild Card spot. The Steelers currently hold the tie-breaker due to head-to-head record, but the two teams play again next week in a game that is likely to decide the final playoff spot in the conference.
With the Eagles holding a 13-10 lead late in the third quarter, Philadelphia (4-10) finally reverted to the form they’ve shown throughout most of the season. The Eagles turned the ball over four times in seven minutes — three times in just over a minute — and the Bengals capitalized on every opportunity to blow the game wide open.
Quarterback Nick Foles was intercepted by Bengals cornerback Leon Hall on a badly under-thrown ball and returned 44 yards into Philadelphia territory. An eight-play drive was capped by an 11-yard touchdown run by quarterback Andy Dalton to give the Bengals a 17-13 lead.
Eagles running back Bryce Brown fumbled on the second play from scrimmage on the Eagles’ ensuing drive. Defensive tackle Pat Sims hit Brown three yards in the backfield and Wallace Gilberry scooped up the ball and rumbled 25 yards for a touchdown. Philadelphia fumbled again on their next offensive play when tight end Clay Harbor coughed up the ball to five possession back to Cincinnati.
A 32-yard field goal by Josh Brown gave the Bengals a 27-13 lead. Cincinnati then hit a short kickoff that was muffed by defensive tackle Cedric Thornton and recovered by Taylor Mays. Five plays later, Dalton hit A.J. Green for a 5-yard score to take a commanding 34-13 lead.
The Eagles managed to run for just 42 yards against the Cincinnati defense. Foles completed 16 of 33 passes for 182 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
Dalton was similarly unspectacular. He completed just 13 of 26 passes for 114 yards and a touchdown but also lost two fumbles that led to a pair of Philadelphia field goals to take the lead. BenJarvus Green-Ellis carried 25 times for 106 yards and a touchdown to lead the Bengals offense.