Tuesday 24 October 2017

Chargers pile fresh pain on Bengals as Dalton flops

Gio Bernard of the Cincinnati Bengals with Tourek Williams of the San Diego Chargers
Gio Bernard of the Cincinnati Bengals with Tourek Williams of the San Diego Chargers

Reuters

The San Diego Chargers took full advantage of a second-half meltdown by the Cincinnati Bengals to claim a 27-10 AFC wild-card win and move on to the divisional play-offs against the Denver Broncos.

Trailing 10-7 at the half, the Chargers made Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton pay dearly for his miscues, two interceptions and a fumble, to hand Cincinnati their first home loss this season at Paul Brown Stadium.

For the AFC North champions it was another shocking end to a promising season as their run without a play-off win extended to a painful 24 years.

Four times in the last five seasons Cincinnati have appeared in a wild-card contest and fallen flat, losing twice to the Houston Texans (2012, 2011), the New York Jets (2009) and San Diego.

UNFANCIED

The Chargers outscored Cincinnati 20-0 in the second half, as quarterback Philip Rivers had a modest afternoon, completing 12 of 16 passes for 128 yards and one touchdown.

Unfancied San Diego, who only made it to the play-offs thanks to Kansas City Chiefs missing a kickable field-goal in their last regular season game, took the lead when Danny Woodhead ran in a five-yard touchdown at the end of the first quarter.

Cincinnati fought back as Dalton found Jermaine Gresham to make it 7-7 and added a field-goal for a 10-7 half-time lead.

San Diego came roaring back however, and took advantage of the Bengals' defensive lapses as Rivers passed to Ladarius Green for 14-10.

Two field-goals stretched the lead to 10 while the Chargers defence held firm before Ronnie Brown's 52-yard run completed the win.

Irish Independent

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