Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals NFL Score, Recap, News and Notes
Andrew’s Week 16 NFL Breakdown and Analysis
December 22, 2014
Finishing off the Week 16 schedule on the season finale of “Monday Night Football,” we had a nice-looking matchup between the Broncos and Bengals. Denver came into this one fresh off a win over the Chargers, while Cincinnati flat-out stomped the Browns in Week 15. This game had some heavy playoff implications, so all eyes were glued to Ohio last night.
Let’s check out some of the notable players and statistics from the game so we can figure out why things played out the way they did. Afterward we’ll look ahead to Week 17 to see what’s in store for both teams in their regular-season finales.
What Happened: This was a pretty thrilling game overall, with plenty of twists and turns throughout. The action started on a 33-yard Aqib Talib interception return TD which gave Denver the early lead. Jeremy Hill responded a short time later, however, with an 85-yard TD run and a 7-7 score after one.
In the second, the Bengals got it going on a pair of Mike Nugent field goals (37 and 49 yards, respectively) sandwiched around a 2-yard Jermaine Gresham TD pass from Andy Dalton. After one half, it was 20-7 Bengals.
In the third, the Broncos stormed back. C.J. Anderson scored on a 1-yard TD run, but Giovani Bernard equaled that on a 22-yard pass from Dalton. Emmanuel Sanders scored the next two on passes from Peyton Manning, from 4 and 5 yards out. Denver had the lead at the end of three, 28-27.
The Bengals got the lead back on a 23-yard Nugent field goal, and Dre Kirkpatrick broke it open on a 30-yard interception return TD. That made the score 37-28 and that’s how it would end. It was a huge victory for the Bengals, which locks up a playoff spot for them and sets up an AFC North showdown with Pittsburgh next week. The winner will take the division; the loser gets a Wild Card.
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The Stars: Jeremy Hill was in control of the running game, posting 147 yards on 22 carries. That was part of a 207-yard overall effort on the ground by Cincinnati. Gresham was the major contributor through the air with nine grabs for 62 yards.
The Cincy defense came up big when they needed to, picking off Manning four times and scoring a key TD.
Sanders (six grabs; 70 yards; two touchdowns) and Demaryius Thomas (seven receptions; 115 yards) were the big players on the other side.
The Goats: Manning just doesn’t look like Manning these days, which brings some question as to how healthy he really is (he’s been fighting a thigh injury lately).
Hill has some ball-security issues as well; he lost a key fumble that very well could have cost the game.
The Bengals were just 2-11 on third downs.
Injuries: Bengals WR A.J. Green was the big story here; he injured his right arm early in the game and was held without a catch after coming on and off the field. Also, Broncos S T.J. Ward sustained a neck injury in the fourth.
Outlook: Both teams will be back in action on Sunday, December 28. The Broncos will host the incoming Raiders (4:25 PM ET on CBS), while the Bengals will get the primetime game in Pittsburgh (8:30 PM ET on NBC).
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