PHILADELPHIA — One Pennsylvania team down, one to go for the Cincinnati Bengals.
Andy Dalton threw one touchdown pass and ran for another score, an opportunistic defense forced five turnovers and the Cincinnati Bengals beat the Philadelphia Eagles 34-13 Thursday night.
The Bengals (8-6) took a half-game lead over the Pittsburgh Steelers (7-6) for the last playoff spot in the AFC. But their game at Pittsburgh next week is far more important in the standings than this one.
The Bengals would clinch their second consecutive playoff berth with a win over the Steelers if Pittsburgh loses to Dallas this Sunday. A loss to the Steelers, though, would likely ruin Cincinnati’s chances.
The Eagles’ season was lost a long time ago. They fell to 4-10, losing double-digit games for the first time since 2005.
Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles made his fifth consecutive start for Michael Vick, who just returned to practice this week after sustaining a concussion on Nov. 11.
He hit 16 of 33 passes for 182 and threw a touchdown pass and an interception.
Just two plays into the game, the Eagles committed their league-leading 30th turnover. Jeremy Maclin, who caught the winning TD against the Buccaneers, fumbled after a 6-yard catch. Carlos Dunlap recovered and the Bengals started at the Eagles 44.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran 29 yards on first down and scored a few plays later for a 7-0 lead.
It got uglier for Philadelphia on the next possession. Mat McBriar punted into his own blocker, Daniel Herron picked it up and ran 3 yards to the Eagles 11. But Brandon Graham sacked Dalton and Cincinnati settled for Brown’s 24-yard field goal that made it 10-0.
The Eagles were again without running back LeSean McCoy and tight end Brent Celek also sat out. Both players also are recovering from concussions. McCoy missed his fourth consecutive game, but returned to practice this week with Vick.