Cincinnati Bengals

Bengals big 2nd half key to beating Colts, stay alive in playoff race

CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati Bengals continued to get solid play from Jake Browning and dominated the second half in a 34-14 win over the Indianapolis Colts Sunday afternoon at Paycor Stadium.

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Browning threw 275 yards, and two touchdown passes and ran for a third. He left the game in the fourth quarter with a camp injury but returned. This was Browning’s third start since losing Joe Burrow to a season-ending wrist injury.

Joe Mixon ran for 79 yards and a score.

Cincinnati’s defense shut out the Colts in the second half. They sacked Gardner Minshew three times and forced two turnovers.

The Bengals improved to 7-6 and remain in the mix for a playoff spot.

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Cincinnati got on the board first when Browning threw a 54-yard touchdown pass off a screen pass to Chase Brown to take a 7-0 lead. Mixon added a one-yard touchdown run to increase the advantage to 14-0 with 10:18 left in the second quarter.

The Colts responded with a 17-play, 79-yard drive that took over eight minutes off the clock. Minshew found Mo Alie-Cox for a two-yard touchdown pass on fourth down, but Matthew Gay missed the extra point to cut it to 14-6.

On the Bengals’ next series, Browning’s pass went off the hands of Tanner Hudson and was intercepted by Ronnie Harrison Jr. He returned it 36 yards for a touchdown and former Ohio State standout Michael Pittman Jr. caught the two-point conversion to even the score at 14-14 at halftime.

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Cincinnati took the opening kickoff and drove 75 yards on six plays. Browning found Hudson for an 11-yard touchdown pass to reclaim the lead, 21-14. The Bengals never trailed again.

Browning added a one-yard touchdown run to expand the advantage to 28-14 after three quarters.

Evan McPherson added a pair of fourth-quarter field goals to cap the scoring.

The Bengals will have a short week.

They will host Minnesota on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Paycor Stadium. Both teams will enter the game with 7-6 records and hopes of reaching the playoffs.

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