Bengals beat Colts 42-28 to stay perfect at home

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 8, 2013 at 6:43 pm •  Published: December 8, 2013
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CINCINNATI (AP) — A disputed call went the Bengals' way — not that they absolutely needed it.

Getting Andy Dalton back in form was quite enough.

Dalton regained his passing touch in time to keep the Bengals perfect at home and in control of the AFC North on Sunday. He threw for three touchdowns and ran for another in a 42-28 victory over Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts.

The Bengals (9-4) kept their firm grip on first place, two games ahead of Baltimore with three to play.

"We're on a roll," middle linebacker Rey Maualuga said. "At the beginning of the year, we had three goals. We wanted to be undefeated at home, win the AFC North and eventually be world champions.

"We're close to the goals we wanted to get to. We've got to be good from here out."

It had been a while since Dalton was this good.

He was the AFC's offensive player for October, but hadn't put together a consistent game since. He was as good as ever on Sunday, helping the Bengals improve to 6-0 at Paul Brown Stadium on a cold, windy day — 28 degrees at kickoff with a wind chill of 19.

"We know what we're capable of, and we've got some momentum now," said Dalton, who was 24 of 35 for 275 yards without a sack or interception. "But we've got to keep it going."

BenJarvus Green-Ellis had a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs — one of them on a review that overturned a call — as the Bengals got ahead 21-0 and held on.

The Colts (8-5) had another slow start in the cold, falling behind 21-0 before Luck threw four touchdown passes to keep them close. They never caught up as Dalton got the better of a head-to-head matchup of up-and-coming quarterbacks from Texas.

Despite the loss, the Colts clinched the AFC South later Sunday when Denver beat Tennessee 51-28.

Indianapolis is in the playoffs but has some major concerns. The Colts were drubbed 40-11 in Arizona two games ago and needed Adam Vinatieri's five field goals to beat Tennessee 22-14 last week.

"We've got some things to clean up, but we certainly came down here with the mindset that we wanted to win this football game and certainly win the division that way," coach Chuck Pagano said.

The Bengals are having their best season at home since 1988, when they won all eight regular-season home games and two playoff games on the way to a second Super Bowl appearance and loss to San Francisco.