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Quick hits: A team on the rise

Posted Dec 2, 2012

Game Rewind: Cincinnati Bengals» After Sunday's 20-13 win, the Bengals felt as if they had won a big AFC North game on the road. The offensive line had just provided a third consecutive 100-yard rushing day by the same back for the first time in 13 years, while the defensive line helped keep a team out of the end zone for the second time in three games.

"This is a win by a team that is rising," head coach Marvin Lewis said. "We’re good as a team. We’re not really good singularly. We play well together. That’s what I keep telling them. We’re not very good by ourselves. We have one really good player by himself (A.J. Green) and everybody else just has to keep playing together. With that we can play pretty good football. Eleven guys, that’s what it takes.” 

» Lewis was particularly pleased by the second half in which the Bengals overcame several bad moments to score 10 points in the last 4:11.

“I think we are a far better football team than we were last year when we finished the season. That’s key. We have to go prove that we’re better equipped to finish out this last quarter of the season. That’s where we are now," Lewis said. "We put ourselves back in position. We were able to overcome October, which was hard. We’ve done this by playing one snap at a time. We can’t lose sight of that. We can’t worry about the big picture. We’ve done a nice job of focusing on the little things.”

» First on Lewis's list was quarterback Andy Dalton, who overcame two interceptions and a 65.2 passer rating to post the fifth fourth-quarter comeback of his career and his first since Nov. 29 of last year. He scored the winning touchdown on a six-yard scramble up the middle on second down.

"We called a screen and I couldn't find anybody open," Dalton said. "I saw an alley and just took it."

Lewis noticed.

"Andy doesn't flinch," Lewis said. "He's pretty calm, he's pretty cool."

» Bengals left end Carlos Dunlap got his fish on the second snap of the game. But he didn’t get Moby Dick until 3:54 left. That's when, with the Bengals taking the lead 17 seconds before, Dunlap swiped the ball out of the throwing hand of Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers for the second time Sunday and this time he chased down the fumble at the San Diego 13.

"That's what we call a fish; a guy that doesn't start comes into the game," Dunlap said. "You have to take advantage."

Chargers right tackle Jeromey Clary went down on the first snap of the game for San Diego, who had to run out Kevin Haslam, giving the Chargers two undrafted tackles.

"I couldn't get him all the way," Dunlap said of Rivers. "But I tried to hit his arm and I got a piece of the ball."

It was enough. The Bengals had four sacks to push their second-in-the NFL total to 39 and only a half came from their top two sackers as defensive tackle Geno Atkins upped his team-leading total to 9.5. Dunlap's two doubled his total to four, where he's tied with backup right end Wallace Gilberry because he had one Sunday.

"We're spreading the wealth," Dunlap said. "We don't have one dominant guy. I had the numbers today, but it just wasn't one guy."

» Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis stayed hot with his third straight 100-yard game. A week after making the two longest runs of his career (48 and 39 yards) Green-Ellis added a 41-yarder on the first drive of the game. Lewis said one reason for the more efficient running game is the blocking downfield by the wide receivers. He said rookie receiver Marvin Jones had the block that sprung Green-Ellis on Sunday, and last week it was Jones's block that paved the way for Green-Ellis's 39-yarder.

"I'm pleased for him," Lewis said of Green-Ellis. "He's the epitome of a pro and I guess that means when he runs for 100 we're 3-0, and that's good."

BJGE is working on almost the same time timeline as Corey Dillon, the last Bengal to have three straight 100-yard games. He did it from Nov. 28-Dec. 12, 1999.

"That's what I say, too," Green-Ellis said of being 3-0. "Everything else is fine and dandy. I just want to win."

» Gilberry had a tough day Sunday. He was good friends with Javon Belcher, the Chiefs linebacker that committed suicide Saturday after killing his girlfriend and mother of their infant daughter.

Gilberry, who spent the previous four seasons in Kansas City, lockered next to defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey and Belcher was on the other side. Gilberry said they had a lot in common, starting with the lockers and the fact a year after Gilberry arrived, Belcher came in, also undrafted.

"We almost had to be friends; he was not just a teammate," said Gilberry, who had to pause a couple of times Sunday in front of his locker before he could continue to speak. "(He had) high energy … you never know behind closed doors what people are dealing with."

It was Dorsey who confirmed to Gilberry what happened early Saturday morning.

"It was one of those long pauses and we both hung up without saying a lot," Gilberry said. "It was one of those things you're hoping it was a misprint or somebody got it wrong.

"You always hear that story when something like that happens, you say, 'He was never that guy.' But really, he wasn't that kind of guy. I'm praying for his daughter that got left behind and is going to grow up without any parents and the family of his girlfriend and his family."

Gilberry was able to commiserate before the game with a couple of Chargers that were in Kansas City together, such as Demorrio Williams and Jackie Battle.

"He was definitely on my mind," Gilberry said. "You can't even put it into words."

» Gilberry continues to play well spelling defensive end Michael Johnson. On Sunday he had another sack to go with two tackles, a tackle for loss and a quarterback hit.

» The Bengals defensive line, which came up with all four sacks, usually plays with a chip on its shoulder, but they played with an even bigger one Sunday. Left end Robert Geathers said defensive line coach Jay Hayes had read a media report that said the Bengals defensive line was overrated.

"I don't know who said it," Geathers said, "but it's really not surprising. People haven't been giving us much respect and we just went out there and did it again today."

» Safety Reggie Nelson came up with the big pick with 49 seconds left on fourth-and-10 from the Bengals 17. It was also his first pick this season. He said the secondary was playing halves and while cornerback Terence Newman covered wide receiver Malcom Floyd running down the right sideline into the end zone, Nelson said his primary responsibilty was tight end Antonio Gates across the middle. Nelson had him and was able to break on the ball when he saw Rivers go for Floyd and Nelson caught the underthrown ball.

"Zim put us in a great call," Nelson said of defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. "We knew when we took the field for the last drive if we stopped them we'd win."

» Bengals middle linebacker Rey Mauluga was very mindful he was playing where the late Junior Seau played for so long.

“Right before the game when they announce the visiting team, I ran across the field and pointed at his number. I pointed at the sky. Basically he is my idol," Maualuga said. "Last time I was down here was for his funeral in this stadium, it was on bad terms, but at the same time I was paying my respects. It was me paying my dues for the guys that have paved the way for guys like myself to be able to play the game that we love. To grow up in his passion of play, makes me want to push myself to leave a legacy of my own.”

» Running back Cedric Peerman could be out a while, although indications are he didn't break his ankle and isn't out for the year. But he left the locker room with his foot in a boot and with crutches.  

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