Bengals pull away late for 34-12 win over SeattleBy TIM BOOTH, AP Sports Writer Monday, Oct 31, 2011
SEATTLE (AP)—By the time Reggie Nelson(notes) was sprinting down the sideline in the closing seconds, he was just adding to Cincinnati’s streak of getting a defensive touchdown while making the Bengals’ victory look more impressive.
“We did good things I think in all three phases and things that we have to do better. It’s where we are,” Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis said. “I hope I just keep standing here and telling you the same things for the rest of the season, the next nine weeks after this because that is the way it is.”
Dalton threw a pair of first-half touchdown passes, one to fellow rookie A.J. Green(notes), Tate returned a punt 56 yards for a touchdown with 3:22 left and the Bengals won their fourth straight with a 34-12 win over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
Nelson’s 75-yard interception return for a score in the final minute and every phase of the Bengals’ game contributed to their fourth straight win and first on the West Coast since beating San Diego in 2003.
Cincinnati is 5-2 for the fourth time in the past 21 years; and the previous three times it reached the postseason. The Bengals are tied with Baltimore a half game behind Pittsburgh in the tough AFC North.
“This is a really tough place to play well and play good and you’re going to be in a battle with these guys when you come out here to play,” Cincinnati offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth(notes) said. “To get out of here with a team win is huge.”
Lewis became Cincinnati’s all-time leader in coaching wins with 65, but it was a choppy effort. The Bengals and Dalton were impressive in the first half, then it was up to a defense that bent against Seattle QB Tarvaris Jackson(notes), but didn’t let the Seahawks into the end zone until the fourth quarter.
Dalton made mistakes in the second half, throwing a pair of interceptions and the Bengals managed only 252 yards of total offense. That proved to be enough thanks to special teams, defense and flubs from the struggling Seahawks.
Dalton, whom Seattle passed on in April’s draft by using its late first-round pick on right tackle James Carpenter(notes) instead of the quarterback out of TCU, was 18 of 29 for 168 yards. Green finished with four catches for 63 yards.
“I’m just showing my skills and trying to play to the best of my ability,” Dalton said. “There’s a lot of decisions that go into draft picks and I know that. I’m just trying to do my best.”
Seattle (2-5) went three-and-out on the ensuing possession and Tate, filling in for Adam Jones(notes), who was injured in the first quarter, caught Jon Ryan’s(notes) punt and sprinted nearly untouched to seal the victory.
It was Cincinnati’s first punt return for a score since 2003.
“For some reason when he kicked it I had the feeling I was going to do something special with it,” Tate said. “I didn’t know I was going to score, but I put all the trust in my teammates. The other 10 guys did their job, I just went out and did mine.”
The first came when Carroll tried to give Jackson another week of rest with his injured pectoral and started Charlie Whitehurst(notes) at quarterback. That backfired and by early in the second quarter Jackson was in. He went on to throw for a career-high 323 yards, but Seattle’s only touchdown came on Marshawn Lynch’s(notes) 2-yard TD run with 8:55 left.
He might have had another if Carroll managed the clock better at the end of the first half. Out of timeouts, Carroll opted to go for it on fourth-and-2 at the Cincinnati 3. Lynch got the needed yards for the first down but was stopped at the 1 and time expired on the half before Seattle could stop the clock.
The time flub looked like a massive mistake until the Bengals pulled away late.
“That was totally on me, that was totally my deal,” Carroll said. “If I had to do it again, knowing that we have the ball coming out of halftime, I might have changed it. I still wanted to jam it there and make the touchdown.”
Notes: Seattle WR Mike Williams was a surprise inactive on Sunday. Carroll said Williams had a hamstring issue pop up late in the week, but Williams was not listed on any injury report. … Cincinnati now has defensive touchdowns in its last three games. … Jones said he intends on being ready to play next week at Tennessee. He had ice on his hamstring during the game. … Lynch’s touchdown in the fourth quarter was Seattle’s first since the fourth quarter of its Week 5 win over the New York Giants.
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