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Tennessee at Cincinnati

Dalton's TD catch leads Bengals over Titans 33-7

AP Sports Writer

CINCINNATI (AP) Andy Dalton, pass catcher?

Why not? The way things are going for the Bengals, even the most risky play turns out right.

And yes, that includes the Bengals quarterback trying to emulate Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Green.

Dalton became the first Bengals quarterback to catch a touchdown pass on Sunday, the signature play in a 33-7 victory over the Tennessee Titans that kept Cincinnati unbeaten heading into its bye week.

And feeling pretty good, too.

''I was joking with the guys all week: Who's going to catch the first TD pass, me or one of the other guys?'' said Dalton, who caught one pass at TCU. ''In practice, that (defender) wasn't out there. I thought I was going to get hit.''


Cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson missed - missed the chance for the interception, missed the chance to deck the quarterback, who slipped off him and went 18 yards for the touchdown, diving just inside the pylon.

There was a lot more to it than just the Dalton-turned-receiver trickery. The defense nearly pitched a shutout.

And sloppy Tennessee (1-2) helped out a lot, too, doing just about everything wrong a few hours after getting some very sad news about a former player.

A few hours before kickoff, the Titans learned that kicker Rob Bironas had died overnight in a one-car crash in Nashville. He'd been released in March after his ninth season with Tennessee.

''Our hearts go out to his family,'' said kicker Ryan Succop, who missed a pair of field goal attempts in the first half. ''Obviously we have heavy hearts, particularly the guys that were close with him. We feel for them right now.''

The Bengals (3-0) are off to their best start in eight years. They got a lot of big plays, a few breaks and plenty of help.

The Titans committed a safety for holding in the end zone on a punt, missed those two field goal attempts, snapped the ball before Jake Locker was ready in shotgun formation, and whiffed on the game's defining play.

On the final play of the first quarter, Dalton flipped the ball to receiver Mohamed Sanu, who ran to his right while the quarterback sneaked toward the other side of the field. Sanu stopped and threw a cross-field pass that hung in the air.

Wreh-Wilson misplayed it, bumping Dalton as he ran past. Dalton became the first NFL quarterback to score on a catch since Kansas City's Tyler Thigpen in 2008.

''I saw the guy and said, `Oh, God,''' Sanu said. ''But (Dalton) went up and made the play. I was scared for a moment.''

Even more stunning: The Titans were prepared for the play, having practiced for it during the week.

Dalton's threw his first interception - Cincinnati's first turnover of the season - with 44 seconds left before halftime. But Locker forced a throw into coverage in the end zone for an off-setting interception that left the Bengals with a 19-0 halftime lead.

The Bengals didn't have to do much in the second half other than let their defense finish it off. Dalton was 15 of 23 for 169 yards and wasn't sacked for the third straight game.

Green, who missed most of the last game with an injured big right toe, started and had six catches for 102 yards. He also drew a pair of pass interference penalties from Wreh-Wilson.

Giovani Bernard had a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs. His dive with 1:58 left in the third quarter completed a 14-play, 80-yard drive that lasted 7 minutes, 18 seconds and finished off Tennessee.

The Titans repeatedly undercut drives with penalties. Locker was 17 of 34 for 185 yards with two interceptions, two sacks and a passer rating of 41.9. Succop missed field goal attempts of 40 and 44 yards in the first half, helping Cincinnati take control.

The Titans ended the shutout on Shonn Greene's 1-yard touchdown run with 6:09 to go.

Notes: Quentin Groves was called for holding Cedric Peerman in the end zone on the punt, resulting in a safety. ... The Bengals set a club record with their 11th straight regular season win at home. They lost at Paul Brown Stadium in the playoffs last season. ... Dalton became the fifth Bengals QB to catch a pass, joining Akili Smith, Ryan Fitzpatrick, David Klingler and Sam Wyche. ... Pro Bowl LB Vontaze Burfict was inactive because of two concussions in two weeks.


Online: AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
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Sun. Sept. 21Final
Pass: J. Locker (17-34, 185) A. Dalton (15-23, 169)
Rush: B. Sankey (10-61) G. Bernard (14-47)
Rec: D. Walker (4-54) A. Green (6-102)
Scoring Summary
FGMike Nugent makes 29 yard kick. Drive: 9 plays, 59 yards in 4:03.
TDAndy Dalton catches a 18 yard pass from Mohamed Sanu (Mike Nugent kick is good). Drive: 5 plays, 73 yards in 2:35.
SAFETY B.Kern punts 43 yards to TEN 47, Center-B.Brinkley, downed by TEN-B.Brinkley. PENALTY on TEN-Q.Groves, Offensive Holding, 4 yards, enforced in End Zone, SAFETY - No Play...
TDGiovani Bernard runs for 1 yard (Mike Nugent kick is good). Drive: 1 play, 17 yards in 0:09.
TDGiovani Bernard runs for 1 yard (Mike Nugent kick is good). Drive: 14 plays, 80 yards in 7:18.
TDJeremy Hill runs for 4 yards (Mike Nugent kick is good). Drive: 8 plays, 76 yards in 4:07.
TDShonn Greene runs for 1 yard (Ryan Succop kick is good). Drive: 6 plays, 80 yards in 3:17.

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Players of the Game

A. Green
Rec 6
Yds 102
Avg 17.0
TD 0

B. Sankey
Rush 10
Yds 61
Avg 6.1
TD 0
J. Locker17/3418502
B. Sankey1061018
J. Locker650029
S. Greene1033120
J. Battle1505
D. McCluster1000
D. Walker454023
K. Wright544028
J. Hunter337019
C. Stevens226020
D. McCluster215013
B. Sankey1909
A. Dalton15/2316901
M. Sanu1/11810
J. Campbell1/2-300
G. Bernard1447212
J. Hill739112
C. Peerman51504
B. Tate112012
A. Dalton3303
R. Hewitt1000
A. Green6102029
M. Sanu544014
A. Dalton118118
G. Bernard1707
R. Hewitt1606
B. Tate1505
J. Gresham1505
K. Brock1-30-3
Complete Player Stats
Other Games
TB 14 Final
ATL 56
SD 22 Final
BUF 10
BAL 23 Final
CLE 21
GB 7 Final
DET 19
IND 44 Final
JAC 17
OAK 9 Final
NE 16
MIN 9 Final
NO 20
HOU 17 Final
NYG 30
WAS 34 Final
PHI 37
DAL 34 Final
STL 31
SF 14 Final
ARI 23
KC 34 Final
MIA 15
DEN 20 Final
SEA 26
PIT 37 Final
CAR 19
CHI 27 Final
NYJ 19