(The Sports Xchange) - Andy Dalton passed for 233 yards and three touchdowns including a pair to receiver A.J. Green helping the Cincinnati Bengals get back on the winning track with a 31-7 victory over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday.
The Bengals (9-2), who had lost two straight for the first time since 2013, left little doubt in this one.
“It was kind of uneventful and that’s what we needed,” said Bengals coach Marvin Lewis. “Good focus this week in all three phases. Overall I was pleased. Every time we come out here the goal is to get better, whether it’s win, lose or draw. There were some positives this week”.
Cincinnati’s defense held Rams running back Todd Gurley to only 19 yards on nine carries.
The Bengals figured to run the ball against the Rams and gained 140 yards on the ground led by Jeremy Hill’s season-high 86 on 16 carries.
“It was a key to the game,” said Lewis. “Both sides controlling the line of scrimmage. We were able to get that done today.”
Nick Foles started at quarterback for the Rams (4-7) replacing Casey Keenum, who was out with a concussion suffered last week.
Foles who was under constant pressure and was sacked once and threw three interceptions.
“When they’re up there getting pressure causing havoc, it makes things easier,” said safety George Iloka who had one of the picks. “They did a great job keeping the quarterback in the pocket and that allowed us to keep our eyes on the quarterback and make plays.”
Receiver Tavon Austin was the lone weapon for St. Louis’ offense, rushing for 63 yards and a touchdown, but all but three of his yards came on one carry.
Cincinnati was machine-like in its opening drive, going 63 yards in seven plays including a 10-yard touchdown pass from Dalton to Green, who was left uncovered in the end zone.
The Rams wasted good field position a couple times in the first half, once when they forced Cincinnati to punt from deep in its own end but were flagged for roughing the punter resulting in a first down.
A 30-yard gain on a reverse to receiver Marvin Jones set up a 21-yard field goal by Mike Nugent to make the score 10-0 early in the second quarter.
Trickery paid off for St. Louis when Gurley lined up in the wildcat formation then handed off to Austin who sprinted 60 yards down the right sideline.
Two plays later, Austin’s 5-yard run made the score 10-7.
But the Bengals regained their 10-point lead with a 22-yard touchdown pass from Dalton to tight end Tyler Eifert, making the score 17-7 with 3:27 left in the half.
Cincinnati came out running the ball on its opening possession of the second half but an underthrow by Dalton was intercepted by Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins.
But the Bengals’ defense held helping them put the score out of reach.
Running back Gio Bernard’s 44-yard catch and run set up Dalton’s 18-yard touchdown pass to Green putting Cincinnati ahead 24-7.
Cornerback Leon Hall sealed the win with a 19-yard interception return for a touchdown.
”I forced it trying to make a play,“ said Foles. This is a bump in the road, a character builder. There’s no choice, you can’t give up.”
Editing by Frank Pingue