PHILADELPHIA – One Pennsylvania team down, one to go for the Cincinnati Bengals.
Andy Dalton threw one touchdown pass and ran for another score, an opportunistic defense forced five turnovers and the Cincinnati Bengals beat the Philadelphia Eagles 34-13 Thursday night.
The Bengals (8-6) took a half-game lead over the Pittsburgh Steelers (7-6) for the last playoff spot in the AFC. But their game at Pittsburgh next week is far more important in the standings than this one.
The Bengals would clinch their second straight playoff berth with a win over the Steelers if Pittsburgh loses to Dallas on Sunday.
A loss to the Steelers, though, would likely ruin Cincinnati’s chances.
The Eagles’ season was lost a long time ago.
They fell to 4-10, losing double-digit games for the first time since 2005.
The Bengals built a 27-13 lead into the fourth.
The Eagles snapped a drought of 22 quarters without a turnover by recovering two fumbles in the second. Both led to field goals by Alex Henery, helping Philadelphia to a 13-10 halftime lead.
An interception by Leon Hall set up Dalton’s go-ahead TD in the third quarter.
Then Gilberry picked up Bryce Brown’s fumble and ran it back for an 11-point lead.
Josh Brown tacked on a field goal early in the final period.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis scored on a 1-yard TD run in the first quarter for Cincinnati.
Hall intercepted Nick Foles’ deep pass and returned it 44 yards to the Eagles 40. Foles under threw Maclin, who was a few steps behind Hall.
A.J. Green made an acrobatic catch for an 11-yard gain on third-and-9 a few plays before Dalton ran for the score to put the Bengals up 17-13.
Foles hit Riley Cooper on an 11-yard TD pass to cut it to 10-7. Foles connected with Maclin on a 46-yard pass during the drive.
The Eagles then forced their first turnover since Nov. 5 against New Orleans. Brandon Graham sacked Andy Dalton, the ball popped loose and Trent Cole recovered at the Bengals 29.
Foles made his fifth straight start for Michael Vick, who just returned to practice this week after sustaining a concussion on Nov. 11.
Just two plays in, the Eagles committed their league-leading 30th turnover. Maclin, who caught the winning TD against the Buccaneers, fumbled after a 6-yard catch. Carlos Dunlap recovered, and Green-Ellis scored a few plays later for a 7-0 lead.