Broncos vs. Bengals: Peyton Manning Has Cincinnati's Number in 31-23 Loss

Andrea Hangst@FBALL_AndreaFeatured Columnist IVNovember 4, 2012

Under duress all day, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton came close to matching Peyton Manning pass for pass.
Under duress all day, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton came close to matching Peyton Manning pass for pass.Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Peyton Manning never fell to the Cincinnati Bengals as a member of the Indianapolis Colts, and now with his new team, the streak stays alive with the Broncos besting the Bengals, 31-23.

The last thing any team, the Bengals included, want to do against a Manning-led team is be dragged into a shootout, but that's just what happened on Sunday. With the run not coming easily, yet again, for Cincinnati (and not producing much for Denver as well), it was up to quarterback Andy Dalton to keep pace with his Broncos counterpart, and the more-experienced Manning proved to be too much to handle.

Cincinnati found themselves with a 20-17 lead in the fourth quarter after a two-yard touchdown run by BenJarvus Green-Ellis, but they couldn't hold it. Manning had two touchdown passes in the quarter, while all the Bengals could muster after that point was a field goal. 

All told, Dalton surpassed Manning in yardage, 299 to 291, but could not best him in scores or completion percentage. With Manning nearly impervious to pressure, the key to defeating him was to keep his receivers under wraps. The Bengals had mixed returns in this effort.

They held Denver to just 4-of-8 on third down; however, their receivers came up with more receptions than they had incompletions or drops. Manning had just a mere seven missed passes, with two of them being picks.

Eric Decker was Denver's most productive receiver with 99 yards and two scores on eight catches. Demaryius Thomas had six grabs and 77 yards on eight targets, and tight end Joel Dreessen caught all four passes thrown his way for 38 yards and a touchdown. 

Dalton's receivers were nearly as productive, though not in the end zone. Tight end Jermaine Gresham caught six of the eight passes thrown his way for 108 yards, while wideout A.J. Green registered seven catches on nine throws for 99 yards and a touchdown. Both contributed heavily to the Bengals' 15 passing first downs and put up a legitimate fight throughout much of the game.

The outcome of this game came down to two things—clutch quarterback play and pressure. The Bengals had very little pressure on Manning while the Broncos notched five sacks of Dalton. While Dalton clearly proved he has the ability to hold his own and put up points in a high-pressure shootout, Manning's fourth quarter experience ultimately got the best of the Bengals.

That this loss wasn't as bad as it could of been speaks well for this young Bengals team; however, falling to Denver doesn't help their chances of making a second consecutive playoff appearance. At 3-5, Cincinnati is simply struggling to keep their heads above water.

 

Related

    Drew Brees: 'I'll Be Here as Long as They'll Have Me'

    NFL logo
    NFL

    Drew Brees: 'I'll Be Here as Long as They'll Have Me'

    Adam Wells
    via Bleacher Report

    Jags’ Recipe to Upset the Pats in NE

    NFL logo
    NFL

    Jags’ Recipe to Upset the Pats in NE

    Sean Tomlinson
    via Bleacher Report

    NFL1000 Rankings: Green Still a Top 10 WR in 2017

    Cincinnati Bengals logo
    Cincinnati Bengals

    NFL1000 Rankings: Green Still a Top 10 WR in 2017

    NFL1000 Scouts
    via Bleacher Report

    NFL1000: Ranking the Top Slot Receivers of 2017 Season

    Cincinnati Bengals logo
    Cincinnati Bengals

    NFL1000: Ranking the Top Slot Receivers of 2017 Season

    NFL1000 Scouts
    via Bleacher Report