CINCINNATI - Cincinnati wide receiver A.J. Green made a few waves this past week when he told a New York radio station that the Giants defense had some holes in it. Green and the Bengals showed everyone where those holes were on Sunday.
Andy Dalton had four touchdown passes for the first time in his career and the Cincinnati defense kept Eli Manning and the New York Giants out of the end zone for the first three quarters as the Bengals routed the defending Super Bowl champions, 31-13 at Paul Brown Stadium.
Dalton completed 21 of 30 passes for 199 yards and touchdown passes to A.J. Green, Andrew Hawkins, Jermaine Gresham and rookie Mohamed Sanu as Cincinnati ended a four-game losing streak in convincing fashion and improved to 4-5. The Giants fall to 6-4 heading into their bye week.
"It was a big win for us today," said Dalton. "We knew early on that this week was going to take our best effort to win today, and that's what happened. We played well in all phases of the game."
The Giants outgained the Bengals 318-275, but most of that came late in the game. Cincinnati took advantage of three drives that began in the red zone by turning those opportunities into three touchdowns. Cincinnati had just 13 touchdowns in 27 red-zone possessions entering the game but went 3-of-4 on Sunday. The Giants had to settle for field goals on their two first-half drives that reached inside the Cincinnati 20.
Dalton did not throw an interception for the first time all season. He also was not sacked.
New York turned the ball over four times, including two interceptions thrown by Manning. He finished 29 of 46 for 215 yards. This was the third consecutive game Manning has been held without a touchdown pass. That's the first time that has happened since his rookie season in 2004.
Manning has completed just 54 of 99 passes for 532 yards, no touchdowns and four interceptions the past three games. The Giants are 1-2 in those games and are the length of Dez Bryant's toe being out of bounds from being in a three-game losing streak. An apparent 37-yard touchdown by the Dallas receiver in the back of the end zone with 10 seconds remaining two weeks ago was overturned and enabled the Giants to hold on for a 29-24 victory.
"Every year we have gone through stretches where we didn't play our best football and we were still able to bounce back," said Manning. "That's what's going on right now. Offensively, we're not playing our best, converting on third downs, or scoring in the red zone. We haven't made enough plays to keep the ball in our hands at all. I have to start playing better, personally, and we need to as a group, as well."
Dalton completed 15 of 20 passes for 161 yards and two touchdowns in the first half as the Bengals built a 17-6 lead. Dalton connected with Green for a 56-yard touchdown on the fifth play of the game to give Cincinnati a lead it would not relinquish.
Adam Jones returned a punt 68 yards to the New York 11. The punt return followed a penalty against the Giants' Justin Tryon for running out of bounds on a first punt attempt. The Bengals made the Giants re-kick and got the big return as a result. Dalton hit Hawkins for an 11-yard touchdown on third down to put Cincinnati up 14-0.
The Giants got field goals of 23 and 31 yards from kicker Lawrence Tynes before Andre Brown scored on a two-yard touchdown run with 2:46 remaining.
Cincinnati sacked Manning four times, the highest total allowed by the Giants this season. Defensive end Carlos Dunlap had 1.5 sacks and a fumble recovery, while linebacker Rey Maualuga recorded a game-high 12 tackles.
"One of the chips we had for this week was to out-play their defensive line," Dunlap. "We knew we had the ability to, but we just have to go out there and do it - don't talk about it, be about it."
Both of Manning's interceptions came in the third quarter under heavy pressure and led to touchdowns.
Defensive lineman Pat Sims, playing in his first game of the season, picked off a pass tipped by defensive end Michael Johnson to set up a 10-yard Dalton touchdown pass to Gresham that pushed Cincinnati's lead to 24-6 with 7:37 left in the third quarter.
Defensive back Nate Clements intercepted Manning at the New York 37 and returned it to the 16. The Bengals got their final points of the day when Dalton completed a third-down pass to Sanu from 12 yards away to give the rookie from Rutgers his first career touchdown reception.
The Bengals will play at Kansas City next Sunday in an attempt to get back to .500.
NOTES: Cincinnati had been outscored 67-23 in the third quarter of games this season but outscored New York 14-0 on Sunday... Green has caught a touchdown pass in eight straight games. . . . The last time Cincinnati beat a team with a winning record at the time they played was Nov. 6, 2011 at Tennessee... The home team has won all nine games the teams have played. Cincinnati now leads the all-time series 6-3... New York wide receiver Domenik Hixon left the game in the first quarter with an ankle injury and did not return... The Giants activated safety Will Hill from the exempt status on Saturday. Hill had been suspended for four games after violating the NFL's performance-enhancing substance policy. He recovered a fumbled punt at the Cincinnati 27 that led to three points.