The Cincinnati Bengals had not scored an offensive touchdown in their last 20 drives and were facing a third-and-15 at their own 2-yard line when everything changed.
Instead of reeling after a sack that almost produced a safety, the Bengals rushed to the line and Andy Dalton hit Marvin Jones with a 28-yard pass for a first down. Then Giovani Bernard ripped off an 28-yard run on the next play to start the Bengals on their way to a 14-play, 93-yard drive that ended with BenJarvus Green-Ellis scoring on fourth and goal from the 1 for the deciding points in a 13-6 victory against New England on Sunday.
“That’s a play that ended up being a great call by (offensive coordinator Jay Gruden),” Jones said. “We quick-snapped it and caught them off guard. It was a great play.”
The 28-yard pass to Jones was Dalton’s longest of the day.
“It was taking (the Patriots) a little while to line up, so we got the ball out and Marvin made a big catch and kept the drive going,” Dalton said. “It gave us some momentum and we took advantage of it and kept making some big plays.”
The touchdown drive, which ate 7:48 off the clock, ended up being the longest of the season for the Bengals in terms of plays, and second longest as far as yards.
Perfect punt: You can give Bengals punter Kevin Huber the unsung hero award of the game.
Standing inside his own 5 as torrential rains fell with two minutes left in the game, Huber ripped off a 57-yard punt that forced New England to start its attempt at a game-tying drive at its own 35.
“Everyone fought to the end in all phases of the game, and how about that big punt at the end of the game?” Bengals defensive tackle Domata Peko said. “That was a huge one. Everyone had their part in it. Everyone had a hand in this win.”
Red alert: Tom Brady’s 52 consecutive games with a touchdown pass streak was not the only notable mark that came to an end Sunday.
For the first time in 155 pass attempts in the red zone, Dalton threw an interception.
It came on a second-and-7 play at the 9. While rolling out and buying time, Dalton tried to force the ball to tight end Tyler Eifert, but Brandon Spikes had him blanketed and easily intercepted the ball.
Dalton’s red-zone ratio had been 37 touchdowns with zero interceptions before that.
New leader: Defensive end Michael Johnson missed Sunday’s game with a concussion, snapping the team-leading streak of 71 consecutive games played that he shared with Huber, who appeared in his 72nd.
Peko is the current leader in consecutive starts with 56.