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Quick hits: Long-time coming; Steelers game flexed; New look O-line delivers; Tez conquers Wentz


Andy Dalton didn't get sacked Sunday for first time since Nov. 29, 2015.

-After securing their first win in six weeks that included a trip to London and a bye, the Bengals took time to savor Sunday's 32-14 win over the Eagles at Paul Brown Stadium.

"We lost three in a row and that's bad," said one Bengal. "But it seemed liked seven."

The 4-7-1 Bengals hang by a thread in the AFC North now that they're 2.5 games out with four to play. Asked if they could go on a run left end Carlos Dunlap offered, "I'm just glad to get one.  Now we have to find a way to get to number two."

-The Bengals still might be in it, but The Suits think there are more impactful games out there and so one of the NFL's great rivalries has been moved out of prime time. The Dec. 18 game against the 7-5 Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium is now at 1 p.m. on Cincinnati's Channel 12 after it got moved out of NBC's Sunday Night Football.  Either the Steelers or the 7-5 Ravens have to win two out of their last four to eliminate the Bengals.  

-Where the Eagles dared Sunday was challenging Bengals wide receivers to beat them one-on-one.

They did with rookie Cody Core setting up the first touchdown when he made his first NFL catch a 50-yarder and with veteran Brandon LaFell setting up the last touchdown on a 44-yard grab. They did it because the Bengals' beleaguered offensive line didn't allow a sack for the first time this season and allowed quarterback Andy Dalton to sit back and carve the Eagles on nearly 11 yards per attempt.

Philly came in 10th in the NFL in generating sacks per pass, but left with only one hit on Dalton and that turned into a roughing penalty on defensive end Brandon Graham. The O-line's effort came against the backdrop of another twist in the right tackle soap opera. First-year starter Cedric Ogbuehi, who had his struggles while making the previous 11 starts, never saw the field even though Pro Bowl left tackle Andrew Whitworth left for a series with a leg injury. He says he's OK and he did come back, but can the same be said for Ogbuehi?

Ogbuehi had been rotating with veteran Eric Winston but Winston got his 124th NFL start Sunday. After he played the first two series, Ogbuehi's 2015 draft classmate, Jake Fisher played the next two and Winston started the second half.

"I thought it was the right move," said Fisher, a second-round pick who has only played this year as an extra tackle. "Our offensive line has been working hard all year and sometimes those changes are good, mixing up some guys. I'm just happy to contribute and I'm just trying to keep improving and getting better and prove that I've got a future in this league. I trust in the coaches that they know what they're doing. Just keep moving forward and all things come around."

Graham did get by Fisher easily on Fisher's first pass set of the game.   

Bengals players wear specialized cleats dedicated to different causes and charities.

"I was definitely a little anxious to get in there," Fisher said. "I haven't played on the right side for a while.  Just getting comfortable, calming down, finding the speed of the game again."

The last time we saw Winston, he was giving up the sack-and-strip of Dalton at the Ravens 16 to end the 19-14 Baltimore loss last week. But on Sunday he teamed with Whitworth to blank the Eagles wide rushers like Connor Barwin.

"They can collapse the pocket, but it looks like Bodine and the guards were stout in the middle and that gave Andy time to step up in the pocket," Winston said of center Russell Bodine and friends. "And Whit and I were stout on the outside. We didn't want to get pushed back, but when you do that you always have to make sure you can run guys to the outside."

Bodine, subbed in for two series last week, looked like he was in the whole way Sunday ...


WILL backer Vontaze Burfict had two interceptions for the first time in his career.

-The Bengals had 412 total yards, their most in America since they had 559 in their last win, the 31-17 job over Cleveland on Oct. 23. Dalton's 130 passer rating is his highest for a full game since Nov. 5, 2015 with a 139.8 in the Thursday night win over Cleveland...

-In the last three games the Bengals are giving up 16.3 points per game. They gave up 53 rushing yards, their best since holding Denver to 52 on Sept. 25.

-Bengals WILL linebacker Vontaze Burfict continues to play out of his mind. Coming off two 13-tackle games, Burfict put up 15 more while adding his first multiple interception game of his NFL career. His first one came off another tipped pass from left end Carlos Dunlap, also playing insanely with six pass deflections in the last two games.

"What is he? Six-8? He better be able to deflect some balls," said Burfict, clearly impressed when told the 6-6 Dunlap now has 14 pass deflections on the season. "I didn't know that. That's pretty good. Our coach always says if you can't get there, put your hands up."

Burfict put up his whole body to rob rookie quarterback Carson Wentz in the fourth quarter after the Eagles crept back to 29-14. But with 3:52 left in the game Burfict drove in the stake. He came on a blitz and as Burfict leaped Wentz threw the quick slant over the middle into Burfict's belly. Wentz himself had to push Burfict out of bounds 47 yards later at the Eagles 20.

"Tell them," said linebacker Karlos Dansby, Burfict's locker mate, as the media gathered to ask if Burfict thought he'd go all the way.

"Yeah. Karlos didn't block for me," Burfict said with a laugh.  "That quarterback is fast. He's not slow. He's a fast guy."

Burfict caught Wentz's eye. After throwing just eight picks all year, the Bengals hit him with a career-high three in what was Wentz's worst outing as a pro.

"The last one I think he was blitzing and he kind of read out of it, and made a really good play," Wentz said. "The first one the ball got tipped. He made good plays, though. He's a really good player."


Cincinnati Bengals host the Philadelphia Eagles at Paul Brown Stadium in week 13 of the regular season 12/4/2016

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