Cincinnati Bengals (17) at New England Patriots (24)
Cincinnati got Andy Dalton back from his broken thumb in time for this game, but Dalton probably wishes he hadn’t returned. The Patriots harassed him all game and sacked the QB four times.
The game began as a defensive showdown. Neither team was able to move the ball with any regularity early in the game. New England used a defensive score in the second quarter to help build a 14-point halftime lead.
It was at that point that New England’s offense ground to a halt. It only had three plays in the second half in Cincinnati territory, and those came after receiving a Giovani Bernard fumble at the Bengal 38 yard line.
The Bengals battled back. A Dalton to A.J. Green TD pass at the end of the 3rd quarter got them within one score, but time wasn’t on their side.
Another drive bogged down at the 17-yard line and they settled for a field goal. With time running out, they went for it on 4th-and-5 at the New England 23 and failed to convert.
Dalton played well overall. He was 22 of 34 for 262 yards with 2 TDs. Unfortunately for him, though, he didn’t play in the playoff game his team won. He still is looking for the first playoff win of his career.
New England moves on and will take on Denver for a shot at the Super Bowl.
Next: The NFC Championship Game