The Colts (8-5) may have clinched a playoff spot Sunday, but the Bengals (9-4) dominated throughout, compiling 430 total yards with 155 coming on the ground. Andy Dalton and Andrew Luck combined to throw seven touchdowns without an interception.
After forcing Indianapolis to punt, the Bengals drove 83 yards on ten plays on the arm of Dalton and the legs of BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Dalton capped the drive with a 29 yard touchdown to Marvin Jones to put the Bengals on the board.
That score would hold as Pat McAfee and Kevin Huber traded punts until around the midway mark in the second quarter. The Colts were able to get into field goal range, but Adam Vinatieri had his kick sail wide right.
Cincinnati inherited the ball at its own 34 yard line, but quickly drove into Colts territory with a 22-yard reception by Giovani Bernard. Green-Ellis carried them down to the three yard line and punched it in two plays after replay overturned that he down by contact at the one yard line. The Bengals held that score to lead 14-0 going into halftime.
The second half was more of the same as Dalton picked apart the Colts' defense with completions of 22,16, and 15. A pass interference call placed the Bengals at the one yard line where Green-Ellis once again broke the plane for his second score to give Cincinnati a 21-0 advantage.
It took the Colts just two plays to get on the board when Da'rick Rogers turned a small play into a 69-yard touchdown reception after two missed tackles. Luck took just three plays on the next drive before he found Lavon Brazill for a 19 yard score to cut the lead to seven.
Cincinnati responded with a 44 yard kickoff return by Brandon Tate and then got some help from the Colts defense. After two penalties that included and unnecessary roughness call on a third down, Dalton hooked up with Jermaine Gresham for a 1-yard touchdown.
Another return by Tate, this time on a punt, set up the Bengals with excellent field position and then got more help from Indianapolis after linebacker Kelvin Sheppard was called for taunting. Dalton capped the drive with a 9-yard strike to A.J. Green to give the Bengals a 35-21 lead.
The Colts were able to move the ball behind the arm of Luck who picked apart the Bengals defense before hitting Brazill once again for an Indianapolis touchdown. Cincinnati was held to a three and out, but Huber launched a 70 yard punt to pin the Colts back at their own 20. Indianapolis was unable to advance and McAfee's 48-yard punt was returned 43 yards by Tate to give the Bengals the ball at the Colts 29. Five plays later Dalton scrambled for eight yards into the end zone to put the game out of reach.
Indianapolis didn't quit though as Luck completed eight straight passes with the last one landing in the arms of Rogers in the end zone to make it 42-28. The onside kick attempt was recovered by Cincinnati and Dalton kneeled down to run out the clock and secure the victory.
The Bengals were the only team in the AFC North to not have their game come down to the final play. The Ravens won on a last second touchdown throw by Joe Flacco, the Steelers could not pull off a series of laterals, and the Browns were victims of an onside kick and a controversial pass interference to allow two scores in the final two minutes.
Cincinnati will head to Pittsburgh (5-8) next Sunday to take on the Steelers in primetime with an 8:30 kickoff. The Bengals can clinch the AFC North with a win and a Ravens loss.
Passing: CIN-Dalton (24-35, 275 yards, 3 TD, 1 rush TD) IND-Luck (29-46, 326 yards, 4 TD)
Rushing: CIN-Bernard (12 carries, 99 yards) IND-Luck (2 carries, 32 yards)
Receiving: CIN-Green (6 catches, 72 yards, TD) IND-Rogers (6 catches, 107 yards, 2 TD)
Tackles: CIN-Vontaze Burfict (8) IND-Antoine Bethea (17)
Sacks: CIN-0 IND-0
Turnovers: CIN-0 IND-0