Bengals beat Eagles 34-13
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — So long, Eagles.
Up ahead for the Cincinnati Bengals, the only Pennsylvania team that truly matters.
Andy Dalton threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score, an opportunistic defense forced five turnovers and Cincinnati beat the Philadelphia Eagles 34-13 on Thursday night.
The Bengals (8-6) took a half-game lead over the Steelers for the last playoff spot in the AFC. But their game at Pittsburgh next week is far more important in the standings than this one.
The Bengals would clinch their second straight playoff berth with a win over the Steelers if Pittsburgh loses at Dallas this Sunday. A loss to the Steelers, though, likely would ruin Cincinnati's chances because it would lose the tiebreaker.
"We control what we can control," coach Marvin Lewis said. "We want to win in December, so we have a chance to win in January."
Can they beat the Steelers? Probably not if they play like they did for most of their 60 minutes at Lincoln Financial Field. They committed 10 of their 11 penalties through the first three quarters. Dalton was sacked six times by one of the worst lines in the league.
Dalton was an unimpressive 13 of 27 for 127 yards and a touchdown. No receiver had more than 63 yards.
Funny how a playoff push can make those stats meaningless as long as the Bengals win.
"We're playing for something now," Dalton said. "That's great and that's what makes it fun this time of year."
The Eagles' season was lost a long time ago. They fell to 4-10, losing double-digit games for the first time since 2005, the year after losing the Super Bowl to New England.
There were plenty of empty seats at the Linc, where fans are hoping this is Andy Reid's final season as coach. Reid led the Eagles to nine playoff appearances, six division titles and five NFC championship games in his first 13 years. But the Eagles will miss the playoffs for the second straight year and owner Jeffrey Lurie already said 8-8 would be "unacceptable."
"I thought the effort was there and guys played hard," Reid said, "but you just can't have those turnovers. That's a problem."
An interception by Leon Hall set up Dalton's go-ahead 11-yard TD run in the third quarter. Then Wallace Gilberry picked up Bryce Brown's fumble and ran it back 25 yards for another score and an 11-point lead.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran for 106 yards, including a 1-yard TD run in the first quarter for Cincinnati. Dalton tossed a 5-yard scoring pass to A.J. Green in the fourth to cap a 24-point outburst in a span of 3:23.
"Our goal is to win games. Period. We did that. Doesn't matter how we got there," cornerback Adam Jones said. "We can be better. We can be higher. And that's what we take from this game. Listen, we all know we need to play better as a defense next week. Because we have ourselves a big one next week."
The Eagles committed three turnovers on three straight possessions at one point and then fumbled a kickoff when defensive lineman Cedric Thornton let the ball fall through his hands on a short kick.
After beating Tampa Bay on a last-second TD last week to snap an eight-game losing streak, the Eagles tried to make it two in a row. Turnovers got in their way again. They've committed an NFL-high 34 and forced just 12 all season.
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