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(Sunday, December 18th)
Final Score: Cincinnati 20, St. Louis 13
St. Louis, MO (Sports Network) - Cedric Benson and Bernard Scott both ran for touchdowns in the second half, as the playoff-hopeful Cincinnati Bengals beat the St. Louis Rams, 20-13, on Sunday.
Rookie Andy Dalton completed 15-of-26 passes for 179 yards and threw one interception for the Bengals (8-6), who avoided a third straight loss.
"We started a little slow, but we were able to get the win in the end and that's all that matters," Dalton said.
Cincinnati remains in a battle for the AFC's second wild card spot.
With St. Louis quarterback Sam Bradford out with a high ankle sprain, Kellen Clemens made his first start since 2009, when he was a member of the Jets.
Clemens threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Danario Alexander with 1:08 to play in the fourth quarter, but it wasn't enough as the Rams (2-12) suffered their fifth straight loss.
"Hard to move the ball when you're not converting on third down," said Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo.
The Bengals were bailed out on their first offensive series as a roughing the passer penalty extended the drive. Cincinnati would have had to punt after Dalton's pass to A.J. Green fell incomplete on third down.
The rookie tandem did hook up on Green's 55-yard over-the-shoulder grab, which set up a 1st-and-goal at the two. St. Louis' defense held, however, and Mike Nugent opened the scoring with a 21-yard field goal.
On the ensuing possession, St. Louis marched to the Cincinnati 25, where Nate Clements tackled Steven Jackson for a loss on 3rd-and-1. The Rams looked to tie the game, but Josh Brown missed a 45-yard kick wide right.
Cornerback Josh Gordy picked off Dalton early in the second quarter, but the Rams went three-and-out. St. Louis did produce points later in the frame when Brown connected on a 26-yard field goal.
Cincinnati then moved across midfield and opted to run the ball on 4th-and-1 from the St. Louis 42 despite the fact that Benson was stuffed for no gain on the previous play. The Rams wrapped him up again, this time for a loss inside the two-minute warning.
Back-to-back first downs set up a 43-yard Brown field goal with 26 seconds remaining before halftime.
Nugent hit a game-tying 41-yard field goal to cap the opening drive of the second half. Later in the third quarter, Brandon Tate returned a Donnie Jones punt 56 yards. A personal foul at the end of the run placed the ball at the St. Louis 12. Scott eventually scored from a yard out.
A four-yard TD run by Benson put Cincinnati up 20-6 with 9:14 left in the fourth quarter.
Benson gained 76 yards on 22 carries...Green had six receptions for 115 yards. With 1,006 receiving yards this season, Green is three yards shy of Cris Collinsworth's rookie club record...Jackson rushed 18 times for 71 yards and led all St. Louis receivers with 72 yards on nine catches...Clemens connected on 25-of-36 passes for 229 yards...The Bengals concluded the road portion of their schedule with a 5-3 record.
12/18 18:44:51 ET
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