Broncos vs. Bengals: Score, Stats & Highlights

Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals

Jeremy Hill and Co. took it to the Broncos defense. (Getty)

Final Score

Broncos 7-0-21-0 — 28
Bengals 7-13-7-10 — 37

The Cincinnati Bengals defeated the Denver Broncos 37-28 on Monday Night Football to improve to 10-4-1 to at least clinch a playoff berth in the AFC for the 4th consecutive season — a franchise record.

They play the Pittsburgh Steelers next week at Heinz Field for the AFC North title.

The Broncos dropped to 11-4 and lost home-field advantage to the Patriots in the AFC playoff race.

Peyton Manning struggled all night and ended up throwing four interceptions to the Bengals defense that tightened up after allowing two quick touchdowns early in the 3rd quarter.

Manning and the Broncos close out their season next week at home against Oakland. With a win, they’ll earn a 1st-round bye in the playoffs.

Check out the box score here and read on for a recap.

Aqib Talib Scored on a Pick 6 & A.J. Green Was Hurt on the Same Play

Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green took a shot to his right shoulder from Broncos safety T.J. Ward and went to the sideline so Denver’s medical staff could help work on him. Dalton did no favors early to erase the doubts on the minds of fans and experts.

Jeremy Hill Tied the Game on an 85-Yard Touchdown Run

On the next play of the game, :23 seconds after Talib’s pick six, Cincinnati’s rookie running back and LSU product Jeremy Hill broke a run 85 yards for a touchdown that tied the game at 7-7.

So true.

Peyton Manning’s Interception Led to the Bengals 2nd TD of the Game

The Bengals took over at the Broncos 25-yard line. Four plays later, Dalton found tight end Jermaine Gresham in the back of the endzone for a 2-yard touchdown — Gresham’s 4th TD reception of the season — that gave the Bengals a 17-7 lead.

A.J. Green Returned to the Game But Looked Limited

Late in the 2nd quarter Green returned to the field, but still noticeably in pain from the hit on Talib’s interception earlier in the game. Green, seemingly, tried to play through the pain hoping we was banged up and that he could still be utilized as a decoy to help the Bengals offense. Running back Jeremy Hill also went to the sideline during this time.

The Broncos Came Out & Scored on Their 1st Possession of the 2nd Half

Thanks to an Omar Bolden 77-yard kick return, the Broncos were able to strike just :48 into the 2nd half. C.J. Anderson scored from the 1 to bring the Broncos within six at 20-14.

Manning Hit Emmanuel Sanders for 2 Touchdowns

Manning connected to Sanders on a 4-yard touchdown pass — Sanders 13th of the season — to make the score 27-21 Bengals with 9:08 remaining in the 3rd quarter.

Later in the quarter they hooked up again to give the Broncos their 1st lead since early in the 1st quarter 28-27.

Manning Threw a Pick 6 That Sealed it for the Bengals

Manning’s 3rd interception of the game gave the Bengals a 37-28 lead with less than 3 minutes remaining in the 4th quarter, essentially sealing it for Cincinnati.

Preview: Broncos & Bengals Will Have Major Impact on AFC Playoff Race

On paper, it’s the best Monday Night Football match-up of the season as two of the AFC’s top three teams set to go to battle in Cincinnati in a game that will surely change the landscape of the AFC playoff picture by the end of the night. The 11-3 Denver Broncos have an opportunity to keep pace with the 12-3 Patriots for home-field advantage in the AFC while the Bengals can take a giant step into securing maybe not only an AFC North crown, but a 1st-round bye in the playoffs as well.

In order to do this, the Bengals, who aren’t historically adept at playing prime-time games, have to crack the code of Peyton Manning who is 13-4 on Monday Night Football and 8-0 in his career against Cincinnai and 3-0 of those games were December games.

The Broncos look to continue their momentum coming off a 22-10 in San Diego last weekend, while the Bengals look to continue the same after spoiling Johnny Football’s coming out party in a 3-0 shutout in Cleveland.

The Broncos are the better team on paper. Although Eric Decker left in free agency, Emmanuel Sanders has done a terrific job in replacing his production, and seems to be an excellent fit next to Demariyus Thomas. Each has over 1,200 yards receiving. the noticeable absence in the lineup has been Julius Thomas, who can’t seem to stay healthy lately. Despite just his 456 receiving yards, he was a major factor in the endzone for Peyton Manning, hauling in 12 touchdowns in just 11 games — and two of those games he wasn’t even fully 100%.

In order for the Bengals to win, they’ll need a proper balance of both Dalton — who wilters in big moments — and running backs Gio Bernard and Jeremy Hill. Jeremy Hill has rushed for 877 yards this season, which includes three games of 140 yards or more in his last six. Both backs are elusive in the open field, and provide Dalton with safe security blankets underneath. The Broncos are a good unit against the run, but vulnerable against the pass, especially at the second level where their linebackers aren’t as good as they were last season.

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