Peterson back, but Vikings fall to Bengals 42-14

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 22, 2013 at 4:56 pm •  Published: December 22, 2013

CINCINNATI (AP) — Even with Adrian Peterson back, the Vikings couldn't keep up with a team that's always hot at home.

Andy Dalton threw four touchdown passes, and Peterson spent most of the second half watching from the bench as the Cincinnati Bengals finished off a 42-14 victory on Sunday that clinched a playoff spot for them.

This one got away fast from a team that's accustomed to giving up a lot of points.

Linebacker Vincent Rey returned an interception 25 yards for a touchdown as Cincinnati's defense set up another fast start for the Bengals, who are 7-0 at home. They've scored at least 40 points in each of their last four home games, a franchise first.

Too much for Minnesota (4-10-1) to match.

"Turnovers definitely decided the game," said Peterson, who sat out most of the second half with the Vikings far behind. "We put them in a position to play the game the way they wanted to play.

"It's tough getting behind the 8-ball like we did."

The Vikings have allowed 467 points this season, most in the NFL. They've given up 40 points four times in the last nine games.

Having Peterson back didn't matter much.

Peterson missed the last game with a sprained right foot. He was limited in practice during the week but wanted to play. Coach Leslie Frazier decided to rest him after the game got out of hand.

Peterson had 11 carries for 45 yards, his longest run 11 yards.

"I lobbied a little bit (to stay in), but is it really worth the risk?" Peterson said. "I don't feel like I played with as much confidence as I need. I was a little hesitant. My body is just not responding like I want it to."

The Bengals noticed.

"Personally, I don't think he is healthy," safety George Iloka said. "He didn't seem like himself out there."

The Bengals (10-5) remained perfect at home and clinched an unprecedented third straight playoff appearance when Miami lost at Buffalo 19-0.

Something about Paul Brown Stadium brings out the best in Dalton. In his past four home games, Dalton has thrown for five, three, three and four touchdowns.

Dalton has thrown 31 touchdown passes this season, one shy of Carson Palmer's club record from 2005. Dalton replaced Palmer in the 2011 season and has led his team to the playoffs in each of his first three seasons, only the fifth quarterback in NFL history to do so.

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