Sunday's contest between the Patriots and the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium went down to the wire, but a last second interception by Adam Jones sealed a 13-6 victory for Cincinnati.
It was a tough day for both Andy Dalton and Tom Brady who were each sacked four times and threw an interception. The Bengals (3-2) not only snapped the Patriots' (4-1) four game winning streak, but they also stopped Brady's consecutive games with a touchdown pass at 52.
The rain soaked Sunday saw two turnovers from each team and a combined 14 punts for each team. Cincinnati also had to overcome seven penalties while New England did not have a single flag thrown against it.
The first five drives of the game featured the work of Kevin Huber and Ryan Allen as neither team crossed midfield. Cincinnati finally pushed the ball deep into New England territory, but a interception by Dalton at the 5-yard line thwarted the scoring drive to end the first quarter.
New England was still unable to cross midfield on the first drive of the second quarter and the Bengals also could not do anything on their next drive. The Patriots started the ensuing possession at their own 46-yard line and with a five yard run finally found Cincinnati territory. That only lasted two plays as Reggie Nelson recovered a Legarrette Blount fumble. It was the only fumble the Bengals recovered out of the four New England put on the ground.
Dalton responded by picking apart the Patriots' defense going 4-of-5 for 51 yards, but a costly sack set up a third and long the Bengals could not pick up. Mike Nugent did convert the turnover into three points to give Cincinnati a 3-0 lead.
New England responded with what was initially ruled a 15-yard reception that would have put the ball at the Bengals' 31-yard line, but replay overturned the call and the Patriots were forced to punt. Cincinnati punted on the ensuing drive, but Huber only hit for 35-yards to set up the Patriots with great field position. New England was able to tie the game on a Stephen Gostkowski field goal to make it 3-3 at halftime.
The Bengals went three and out on their first drive of the second half to set New England up with solid field position, but Vontaze Burfict erased any chance the Patriots had with a sack that set back Brady and the gang 10 yards. Cincinnati was able to march from their own 9-yard line to get with field goal range for Nugent who knocked in a 50-yard field goal to retake the lead 6-3.
Cincinnati would get the ball right back as the defense held New England at midfield. The Bengals got the ball at their own 7-yard line and it was nearly a 6-5 game as Dalton was sacked at the 2-yard line to set up third and 15. Dalton was able to get Cincinnati out of the hole with a 28-yard pass to Marvin Jones. Giovani Bernard then burst into New England territory with a 28-yard run to end the third quarter.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis kept the drive alive on a third and two to set up a 17-yard connection from Dalton to A.J. Green. With first and goal from the six, the Bengals ran Green-Ellis twice to get to the 1-yard line, but a false start on Domata Peko (in as an extra blocker), set up a third and goal from the five. Dalton scrambled for four yards and Marvin Lewis opted to go for it on fourth down and it paid off when Green-Ellis punched it in for a 13-3 lead.
Brady rallied the troops with a short pass to Aaron Dobson that turned into a 53-yard gain, before Dobson fumbled and recovered at the Bengals' 17-yard line. Chris Crocker held Danny Amendola to 16-yards and a first and goal from the 1-yard line for New England. Blount was stopped short on first down and then two straight incompletions lead to the Patriots' settling for the short field goal.
That move almost paid off as the Bengals gave the ball right back on a fumble by Bernard near midfield. Wallace Gilberry stopped any rally with a sack on third down to force a punt. Huber did not miss on his next punt attempt as he boomed a 57-yarder to send the Patriots to their own 35-yard line.
New England almost turned the ball over in four plays, but an offside penalty on Crocker erased a fourth and four. A penalty would get the ball down to the Bengals' 27-yard line as Gilberry was called for a roughing the passer. With under 30 seconds to play Brady attempted to find Dobson in the end zone, but instead found the arms of Jones who secured the victory his first interception of the year.
The victory helped the Bengals stay tied atop the AFC North as both Baltimore and Cleveland each won this week while the winless Steelers (0-4) had a bye week.
Cincinnati hits the road next for a Sunday showdown with the Bills (2-3) in Buffalo
who are coming off a Thursday night loss to the Browns. In that game they also lost starting quarterback E.J. Manuel who will not be ready for next week. Kickoff is set for 1:00 p.m.
Passing: Cin-Dalton (20-27, 212 yards, INT) NE-Brady (18-38, 197 yards, INT)
Rushing: Cin-Green-Ellis (19 carries, 67 yards, TD) NE-Blount (12 carries, 51 yards, fumble)
Receiving: Cin-Green (5 catches, 61 yards) NE-Amendola (4 catches, 55 yards)
Tackles: Cin-Burfict (8, sack) NE-Devin McCourty (12)
Turnovers: Cin-2 NE-2
Sacks: Cin-4 NE-4