The result was their most balanced effort of the season with a season-high 189 rushing yards complemented by quarterback Andy Dalton's 230 passing yards on the strength of his second straight triple-digit passer rating (109.8) fueled by no interceptions. Meanwhile the defense stuffed the Chiefs on 10 of 11 third-down tries and held them to just two field goals for Cincinnati's first game without allowing a touchdown since a 14-0 win at Cleveland on Dec. 21, 2008.
The Bengals struggled on third down themselves, missing on 10 of 14 tries, but Dalton salted the game away early in the fourth quarter when he found wide receiver A.J. Green and tight end Jermaine Gresham for third-down conversions to set up rookie wide receiver Mohamed Sanu's 14-yard touchdown catch running out of the slot and beating Chiefs cornerback Brandon Flowers across the middle.
With 101 yards on 25 carries, Bengals running back BenJarvus Green Ellis secured his first 100-yard game as a Bengal and the club's first in 15 games and nearly 365 days since the win over the Browns last Nov. 27. It was also the biggest day in nearly three years on the ground since the 210-yard game against the Browns in a PBS win on Nov. 29, 2009.
Hamstrung on third down and the deep ball kept in check by Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel's Cover 2 defense, a resourceful Bengals effort flattened the Chiefs as they raced to a 21-6 halftime lead.
Green, another beastly day for 91 yards on six catches, still negotiated the minefields of zone defenses with his record-setting touchdown catch in the ninth straight game and his courageous catch on a 40-yard bomb despite taking a head shot to set up another touchdown.
The Bengals defense pitched a solid game, faltering only in the last 50 seconds of the half when it let the Chiefs hurry up for 66 yards to kick Ryan Succop's 33-yard field goal on the last play.
With the Bengals continuing their season-long struggles on third down (they converted only one of seven in the half), they went 3-for-3 on fourth down and got two of them on their first touchdown drive as they erased Kansas City's first home lead of the season and went up 7-3 with 2:51 left in the first quarter.
For the second time this season running back Cedric Peerman, serving as the personal punt protector, ran a fake punt for a long gain. This one was on fourth-and-three from the Bengals 29 and went for 32 yards when he picked up a block from running back Brian Leonard on the left perimeter.
Then five plays later from the Kansas City 36 on fourth-and-seven, Dalton scrambled from the right side of the field all the way to the first-down marker to the other side for an 11-yard gain. That set up Green's record-setting four-yard ballerina move on a one-handed catch over cornerback Javier Arenas and safety Kendrick Lewis just inside the left sideline for his 10th touchdown of the season and pushing him past T.J. Houshmandzadeh on his ninth straight game with a touchdown.
Head coach Marvin Lewis indicated he faked the punt because of the look the Chiefs showed. On fourth-annd-seven, he said he didn't like what the crosswind might do to a field goal.
With the Chiefs taking away the long ball with a lot of Cover 2 (deep zone) the Bengals needed production from Gresham and the running game and got it.
Gresham engaged in a heated battle with safety Eric Berry for much of the day as he muscled his way to four catches for 56 yards and six for 69 on the day. A huge Gresham play set up the third fourth-down conversion of the half and it was for a touchdown when Dalton rolled untouched from inside the 1 with 7:52 left in the first half.
Gresham made it possible on third-and goal from the 11 when Dalton hit him across the middle at the 5 and he dragged three Chiefs into the end zone. A review ruled that Gresham's knee touched just before the goal line and Dalton backed up Lewis's decision when he faked to Green-Ellis running right, hid the ball on his hip and caught Kansas City flat-footed as beat them to the pylon without a finger on him.
Gresham also got Cincinnati's only third-down conversion of the half when he caught the ball short and got the yardage when he stiffarmed Berry.
Green-Ellis did what he had to against the Cover 2 and racked up 62 yards on 12 carries as the Bengals finished the half with 129 yards on 6.8 yards per carry for their third 100-yard rushing game of the season. His longest carry of the season came late in the half, a 21-yarder in which he ran out of inside linebacker Derrick Johnson's tackle at the line of scrimmage. Then one snap later Peerman (55 yards on five carries in the half) made Johnson miss on the way to a 17-yard gain to put the ball on the Chiefs 23 as the clock ran to the two-minute warning. Dalton then hit Gresham over the middle for 17 more and when Chiefs cornerback Jalil Brown interfered with wide receiver Brandon Tate in the end zone it set up BJGE's one-yard touchdown run with 53 seconds left in the half.
Dalton matched the running game with 129 yards on 11-of-17 passing for a passer rating of 107.2 as he found Green three times for 41 yards. He suffered two coverage sacks on the day as left tackle Andrew Whitworth and right tackle Andre Smith held up against pass rushers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston.
Meanwhile, the defense flexed its muscles. Rookie WILL backer Vontaze Burfict got his first NFL fumble recovery hat turned into Mike Nugent's longest field goal try of the season. He hooked a 50-yarder wide left at the last instant in the first minute of the second quarter.
It capped a hellacious series by Bengals Pro Bowl defensive tackle Geno Atkins. He forced two fumbles, jacked his NFL-leading sack total for interior defenders to eight, and had another taken away on third down when cornerback Terence Newman was called for holding. But his second forced fumble came against running back Peyton Hillis for Kansas City's league-leading 31st turnover.
Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel struggled behind a banged-up offensive line that had new players in three spots and got replaced by Brady Quinn to start the second half. And Quinn got a new left tackle when Brandon Albert suffered a leg injury early in the second half.
Cassel completed just eight of 16 passes for 93 yards and while running back Jamaal Charles had 50 yards on 10 carries at the half, Kansas City couldn't cope with Cincinnati's pass rush.
The Chiefs offense took another hit in the first half when it lost No. 1 receiver Dwayne Bowe with an injury. The Bengals lost Newman with a concussion in the second half. He took the hit in the first half and then complained of symptoms later. That got cornerback Adam Jones more snaps, and he got a third-down sack on a blitz to force a punt midway through the third quarter.
PREGAME NOTES: The Bengals had already planned to give rookie wide receiver Mohamed Sanu his first NFL start Sunday against the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium before slot receiver Andrew Hawkins injured his knee in Friday's practice. But with Hawkins inactive the receivers keep on adjusting.
Sanu can move from the X receiver opposite No. 1 receiver A.J. Green into the slot on passing downs and Brandon Tate or Ryan Whalen can go outside. With wide receiver Marvin Jones (knee) inactive for the third straight game, Whalen was active for the third time.
It's believed that Hawkins didn't suffer a major injury. After some exams there didn't appear to be structural damage, but it apparently didn't respond the way the club wanted in the 48 hours since it happened, which is why he was deemed questionable.
Sanu gets the nod a week after he had what the Bengals hope is their third-rounder's breakthrough game. He had a career-high four catches for 47 yards against the Giants and his first NFL touchdown catch, a 10-yarder on third-and-four, as well a third-down conversion running the ball out of the backfield.
Safety Reggie Nelson (hamstring) was inactive for the second straight game and Taylor Mays got the start opposite Chris Crocker for the second straight week. Rookie defensive tackles Devon Still and Brandon Thompson were inactive for the second straight week to make room for defensive tackle Pat Sims. As they have been all but for a combined one game, cornerback Jason Allen and tight end Richard Quinn were inactive.
The Chiefs offensive line went through a major reshuffling because of injuries to right guard Jon Asamoah and center Ryan Lilja. Right tackle Eric Winston moved to right guard and backup guard Russ Hochstein started at center. That made rookie Donald Stephenson, a third-rounder, the starter at right tackle.