|Bengals LB Rey Maualuga celebrates after a 20-13 win at San Diego. They've now won four in a row. (AP Images)|
The defense made up for a sputtering offense and made enough plays to win in a 20-13 win at San Diego. It was far from pretty, but a victory is all the Bengals care about at this point.
The Bengals rushing attack continues to roll. BenJarvus Green-Ellis became the first Bengals back since Corey Dillon in 1999 to rush for 100-plus yards in three consecutive games, though Andy Dalton and the passing game left a number of opportunities on the table. He missed A.J. Green for what would have been touchdowns twice. The first was an easy 5-yard throw near the goal line. Marvin Jones disappointed in replacing Mohamed Sanu (foot) with a costly drop that caused an interception. Jermaine Gresham fumbled and committed an unnecessary holding penalty on a long gain. Much like the win, the offense didn't dazzle, but the ground game bailed them out. Previous game's grade: B+
Another game without allowing an offensive touchdown for Mike Zimmer's defense. The Bengals have allowed two touchdowns in the past four games. Sunday saw the latest monster performance by DE Carlos Dunlap. He's been inconsistent this year, but when he's on it changes the entire game. His two sacks both caused Philip Rivers fumbles, one essentially forced a FG instead of a TD and the second set Cincinnati up for a field goal in the final minutes. Still, there were more blown assignments and undisciplined pass rushes than Zimmer had been accustomed to the last three weeks. Four sacks and an interception, however, will be enough to win a number of games. Previous game's grade: A
Special teams: C
Brandon Tate continues to confound on kickoff returns. He fumbled the opening kickoff on the way out and brought two more out from deep in the end zone to stick the Bengals deep in their own end. Punt returns yielded the opposite results with Adam Jones a weapon that probably needs to start stealing half the reps from Tate. Artist formerly known as Pacman ripped off returns of 24 and what ended up a 15-yard return after a block in the back penalty. Previous game's grade: B-
To find a way to win while the team turned the ball over and made mistakes on the West Coast showed the resolve instilled in this football team. Lewis and Zimmer have this team rolling and the confidence bubbled from the seams in the way Cincinnati believed it would pull out the victory despite uncertainty at half. Previous game's grade: B+
Follow Paul Dehner Jr. for Bengals updates on Twitter at @CBSBengals.