CINCINNATI -- Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton threw three touchdown passes and ran for another as the Bengals beat the Indianapolis Colts 42-28 Sunday in a battle of AFC division leaders at Paul Brown Stadium.
Dalton completed 24 of 35 passes for 275 yards. In addition to the three throwing touchdowns, he also added an 8-yard TD run on a scramble out of the pocket with 4:03 left in the fourth quarter.
The Bengals (9-4) topped the 40-point mark for the third consecutive home game.
Indianapolis (8-5) was held without a touchdown in the first half for the sixth consecutive game. The Colts recovered to win three of the previous five games but could not overcome a 14-0 halftime deficit this time despite four touchdown passes by Andrew Luck in the second half.
The Bengals' win gives them sole possession of the AFC's No. 3 spot in the playoff race.
Cincinnati had a 21-0 lead in the third quarter before the Colts scored on Luck touchdown passes of 69 yards to wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers and 19 yards to wide receiver LaVon Brazil in the span of four offensive plays. The Bengals missed a total of eight tackles on the two touchdowns.
Luck finished the game with 326 yards passing, completing 29 of 46 attempts. He is just the second quarterback this season to throw for more than 300 yards against Cincinnati, joining Matthew Stafford of the Detroit Lions. The Bengals won that game, too.
Dalton completed six of his seven passes on Cincinnati's opening drive, including a 29-yard touchdown to wide receiver Marvin Jones. Jones made a diving head-first catch with 8:03 left in the first quarter to give the Bengals their first touchdown in a first quarter since Oct. 27 against the New York Jets.
Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis scored on a 1-yard run with 1:06 left in the second quarter to give the Bengals a 14-0 lead. Green-Ellis was initially ruled down short of the goal line but a replay booth challenge overturned the call on the field.
Cincinnati's defense held Indianapolis to 117 yards on six possessions in the first half. The Colts punted on five of their six drives. Luck had 96 yards passing in the first half on 10 of 20 completions. Kicker Adam Vinatieri missed wide right on a 44-yard field goal attempt in the second quarter on the Colts' lone scoring opportunity of the half. Indianapolis has not scored a touchdown in the first half since getting three in the first two quarters against the Denver Broncos on Oct. 20.
Dalton threw touchdown passes of 1-yard to tight end Jermaine Gresham in the third quarter and eight yards to wide receiver A.J. Green in the fourth quarter to help the Bengals keep the Colts at arm's length. Indianapolis never got closer than seven points.
Cincinnati outgained Indianapolis 430-389 in offensive yards. Neither team turned the ball over.
Notes: It was just the third time this season that Bengals QB Andy Dalton had an interception-free game. ... Indianapolis DE Robert Mathis came into the game leading the NFL with 15.5 sacks. He was held without one for just the fourth time in 13 games this season. ... Cincinnati OL lineman Kevin Zeitler was active after missing two games with a foot injury but did not start for the third straight game. Mike Pollak, a former Colt, started in his place. ... The Colts had former Bengals OL Mike McGlynn starting at right guard in place of injured Jeff Linkenbach. ... Cincinnati P Kevin Huber had two touchbacks in the game. He had just two touchbacks in the first 12 games of the season... Bengals WR Marvin Jones' touchdown reception was his first since catching four touchdowns against the New York Jets on Oct. 27.