LANDOVER, Md. -- The Cincinnati Bengals ruined Washington's home opener Sunday, scoring on the first snap on a 73-yard touchdown on a wide receiver option and then fending off a Redskins comeback to win 38-31.
Rookie quarterback Robert Griffin rallied the Redskins from a 24-10 halftime deficit, leading drives of 80 and 86 yards to start the second half, but Bengals second-year quarterback Andy Dalton completed all four of his passes for 73 yards on a five-play, 80-yard march that he finished with a 6-yard scoring toss to tight end Jermaine Gresham with 11:24 remaining. Dalton's 59-yard touchdown pass to receiver Andrew Hawkins 4 minutes, 16 seconds later gave the Bengals breathing room they needed when Griffin took the ball over from the 2 with 3:35 to play.
After getting pounded by Baltimore in its opener, Cincinnati (2-1) has scored 72 points in consecutive victories over Cleveland and Washington (1-2). The defeat was the second in a row for the Redskins, who have lost seven consecutive straight at home.
On that first play, Dalton lined up wide. Rookie receiver Mohamed Sanu took the snap and hit fellow receiver A.J. Green in stride behind Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall and safety DeJon Gomes for the 7-0 lead.
The Redskins got even on defense. On the second play after Sav Rocca's 58-yard punt was downed at the Cincinnati 1, Ryan Kerrigan hit Dalton, whose pass fluttered into the arms of Kerrigan's fellow outside linebacker, Rob Jackson, for a touchdown. Jackson was making his first career start.
When the Bengals got the ball next, they had second-and-20 at the Washington 48. Receiver Armon Binns got free of Josh Wilson on a down-and-out from Dalton and when the cornerback's diving tackle attempt missed, he raced to the end zone for a 14-7 advantage with 3:28 left in the first quarter.
Two plays after Mike Nugent's 47-yard field goal extended the margin to 17-7, defensive end Carlos Dunlap -- in his first game back from a knee injury suffered in the preseason opener -- hit Griffin, forced a fumble and recovered the ball at the Washington 12. BenJarvus Green-Ellis' 1-yard run two plays later made it 24-7.
The Redskins got closer on Billy Cundiff's 36-yard field goal with 31 seconds left in the half and opened the second half with rookie back Alfred Morris' 7-yard scoring run that made it 24-17. After Washington's defense forced a three-and-out, Griffin ended the second consecutive long march with a 3-yard touchdown to receiver Santana Moss for the 24-24 tie with 3:29 left in the third quarter.
Notes: Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, Washington's defensive coordinator in 2002, improved to 3-0 against his former team. ... Redskins left tackle Trent Williams injured his right knee on Washington's third snap, returned late in the second quarter only to depart again early in the third quarter. ... Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson had a career-high three sacks. ... Redskins receiver Pierre Garcon (foot) was inactive for a second week in a row. Safety Brandon Meriweather (knee) was inactive for a third consecutive week. ... The Bengals were minus top cornerback Leon Hall with a calf injury he sustained on Wednesday.