The Cincinnati Bengals scored three touchdowns and a field goal on their first four offensive possessions of the second half, toppling Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 34-23 on Sunday.
After a nearly perfect first half in front of their fans, the Bucs picked a terrible time to follow up with one of their worst quarterbacks of the season.
Until late in the fourth quarter, the Bengals had fielded 34 straight points, including 31 in the second half.
Cincy thus added a 10th victory to its record against four losses, while Tampa went two games below the .500 mark, at 6-8.
Despite their unenviable record with three games to go on the regular schedule, the Bucs remain one game ahead of the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints for first place in the National’s sad South Division.
Brady’s troops had started the game in power, even giving themselves a 17-3 priority at halftime.
In fact, after the major scored by Chris Godwin in the second quarter, the locals even led 17-0.
After making the required adjustments at the break, the Bengals, finalists of the last Super Bowl, outright blanked their opponents during the last half hour of play.
Star quarterback Joe Burrow dished out four touchdown passes to Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd and Mitchell Wilcox.
The Cincinnati No. 9 threw for a modest 200 yards through the air, but turnovers were very beneficial to the Bengals’ offense.
Each of the Bucs’ three turnovers in the second half, including two Brady interceptions, led to points from Burrow and his gang.
Tampa’s offense may have scored a final touchdown with 49 seconds left on the clock, the bets were already made.
The Chargers get back into the playoff picture
Cameron Dicker completed a 43-yard field goal with four seconds left, and the Los Angeles Chargers edged the Tennessee Titans 17-14.
The Chargers (8-6) thus keep alive their hopes of qualifying for the playoffs in the American association.
The Titans (7-7) appeared to have forced overtime when Ryan Tannehill scored a one-yard rushing touchdown with 48 seconds on the clock, but the Chargers managed to gain 52 yards in six plays, setting the table for Dicker’s winning kick.
For the first time this season, Justin Herbert had a performance of more than 300 yards through the air in two consecutive weeks.
He completed 28 of 48 passing attempts for 313 yards, but did not add a touchdown pass to his record for only the third time, to his 46e start in the NFL.
Austin Ekeler scored his 14e touchdown of the season, early in the fourth quarter. He leads the American association in this chapter.
Ekeler finished the game with 70 yards, including 58 rushing yards. Joshua Kelley also found the end zone, helping the Chargers take sixth place in the American, due to losses to Miami, New England and the New York Jets.
Derrick Henry did his part in the loss, rushing for 104 yards on 21 carries. At its 100e game in the NFL, Henry hit the 8,000 yard plateau.
Tennessee is now one game ahead of the Jacksonville Jaguars, who won in overtime against Dallas to improve their record to 6-8.
It’s the first time since 2015 that the Titans have lost four games in a row.
Denver wins backup quarterback duel
The Denver Broncos won the backup quarterback game against the Arizona Cardinals by a score of 24-15.
Deprived of Russell Wilson, the Broncos put the ball in the hands of Brett Rypien at quarterback. The latter especially trusted his ball carriers Latavius Murray and Marlon Mack who did the work on the ground.
Murray had a total of 130 yards on the ground and scored a touchdown. Mack also crossed the end zone for a major and rushed for 37 yards.
Rypien spotted Eric Tomlinson for a major and the Broncos quarterback had 197 yards through the air.
For the Cardinals, the situation has become even more chaotic at quarterback. In relief to Kyler Murray who was injured in his last game, Colt McCoy was replaced by Trace McSorley in the third quarter when he took a tackle and he was unable to return to the game.
McSorley completed seven of 15 passes for 95 yards, but was the victim of two interceptions. McCoy also threw an interception before leaving. This setback officially rules out the Cardinals in the playoff race with a 4-10 record.