Posted: 4:04 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013
By Josh Kirkendall
It wasn't until late in the third quarter when Cincinnati's offense began to develop; a struggle that's been hurting the team since Cleveland. A low-scoring game with the Bengals desperately clinging to a 6-3 lead, Cincinnati would eventually claim a two possession, 13-6, lead after snapping a streak of 21 consecutive possessions and seven quarters without an offensive touchdown by consuming 7:48 off the clock on a 93-yard drive.
But it was anything but perfect.
With 1:38 remaining in the third quarter, Dalton was sacked at Cincinnati's two-yard line with the Bengals securing a three-point advantage. Instead of showing signs of defeat with the team's hands on the their collective hips, Dalton leads Marvin Jones on a "go" route to pick up 28 yards and converting the third and 15. Dalton pitched the football to Giovani Bernard on the following play, who split the blocks and gained another 28 yards as the third quarter concluded.
Eventually the Bengals have third and goal from their own one-yard line. Would Cincinnati break their streak of touchdown-less possessions? No. The adversity would continue when fullback Domata Peko fired out of his three-point stance when the remaining ten members on Cincinnati's offense were stones on the line. Dalton fell one yard short of goalline on third down, but instead of converting a chip-shot field goal, the Bengals went for it and were rewarded when BenJarvus Green-Ellis powered his way into the endzone for the touchdown.
As if the game couldn't possibly cause more heart attacks, shortness of breaths, or an increase in emergency room visits, Tom Brady connected with Aaron Dobson on a 56 yard reception. Yet, Cincinnati's defense stayed true to form with the toughness that's defining the 2013 season with a no-gain stuff from the Bengals one-yard line. Brady overthrew Nate Solder on a corner route, setting up a third and goal with 6:36 remaining in the fourth quarter. Instead of running the football -- usually what these situations dictate -- Brady tried connecting to Julian Edelman but fell incomplete when Adam Jones knocked the football out of the receiver's hands.
New England goes for the points and reduces Cincinnati's lead 13-6.
Yet the adversity for Cincinnati's offense would continue.
As the skies opened up and the rain began to resume its scheduled drenching, Giovani Bernard fumbled the football with 3:34 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Mike Zimmer's defense didn't give an inch, doing what they've been doing all season -- shutting down offensive opportunities for the opposing team. Terence Newman deflected a deep pass to Aaron Dobson down the right sidelines at the one-yard line. Chris Crocker disrupted Brady's second down pass and Wallace Gilberry posted his second quarterback sack of the game with 3:12 remaining in the game. Instead of going for it, the Patriots decide to go for field position and punt the football to Cincinnati's nine-yard line.
And it worked for them.
The Bengals dialed up BenJarvus Green-Ellis on three consecutive runs, gaining eight yards and punting the football away after the two minute warning. Kevin Huber smoked a 57-yard punt to New England's 26-yard line, where Julian Edelman returned it nine yards to the Patriots 35-yard line.
Now the gods have opened the clouds and the rains have become torrential. Patriots running back Brandon Bolden dropped the first down pass and Brady underthrew an attempt to Edelman setting up a third and ten from the Patriots 35-yard line with 1:40 remaining in the game. A six-yard pass to Bolden sets up the game's biggest moment, with fourth and five from the Patriots 41-yard line with under a minute remaining in the game.
Chris Crocker blitzed, but he was called for being offsides as Brady threw an incomplete pass. Patriots get the first down and sustain the drive.
After Edelman dropped a two-yard pass, Brady hands off to Bolden who gains 12 yards to the Bengals 42-yard line with :36 seconds remaining, forcing New England to use their final timeout. Following consecutive incomplete passes, Gilberry is called for roughing the passer after making contact with Brady's helmet.
Depression, sadness, scary moments weeks before Halloween sets in.
Tom Brady takes the snap and throws deep down the left sidelines. The football comes out of Brady's hand poorly, allowing Adam Jones to intercept the football at Cincinnati's one-yard line to seal the win.
The Bengals are off to Buffalo next week.