The San Diego Chargers took a walk on the wild side. They went into The Jungle to test the fire power of the Cincinnati Bengals. They would engage in a defensive battle that saw the Bengals walk away with a hard-fought 24-19 victory.
The action was fast and furious in the first half. The Bengals went on offense, after a kickoff muff by San Diego wide receiver Keenan Allen. Two plays after that, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton found A.J. Green streaking down the left side for a quick touchdown. Green had to leap over cornerback Brandon Flowers to snag the pass.
The Chargers cut the lead to 7-3 with a 40-yard field-goal, after Bengals back Jeremy Hill lost the ball on a controversial fumble call. Hill looked to be hurt on the play, but walked to the sideline under his own power.
After the Chargers closed the gap to 7-6, Dalton led the Bengals on a six play 84-yard drive. The march into San Diego territory ended with a beautiful 45-yard bomb to Marvin Jones. Dalton stood in the pocket, looked off the safety and put the ball where it had to be. He hit Jones in stride, to get his second touchdown toss. With the extra point, the Bengals went up 14-6.
The Bengals had a scare before the half ended. Dalton dropped back in the pocket and was hit with furious pressure. He seemed to fumble and the ball was scooped up by linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu and returned for a 36-yard touchdown. The points were taken off the board when the call was reversed to an incomplete pass. The Bengals ran out the clock and took the lead into the locker room.
Philip Rivers started his second half magic. He led the Chargers on a drive that ended with career touchdown pass number 255. The Chargers looked to be mounting another comeback.
The Bengals settled for a 21-yard field goal from Mike Nugent to take a 17-13 lead. From there, the Cincinnati defense stiffened. Andy Dalton pulled the trigger for another touchdown pass to Tyler Eifert and the Bengals seemed to be in control, at 24-13.
The Bengals defense had the Chargers in second and 20 twice, on a late fourth quarter drive, but ended up yielding another Rivers touchdown. The Chargers elected to go for two points and were stuffed by the Cincinnati D. The Bengals defense was dominant all day.
Cincinnati turned the ball over. Rivers got his chance to engineer a game-winning drive when San Diego started at their 20 with 1:09 left. It could possibly be the second Chargers comeback win in as many weeks. Bengals linebacker Vinny Rey ended any chance of a miracle, when he intercepted a pass meant for Malcom Floyd. Game set and match, 24-19 Bengals. That sealed a 2-0 record for the Bengals.
[Photo by Andy Lyons / Getty Images]