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(Sunday, December 5th)
Final Score: New Orleans 34, Cincinnati 30
Cincinnati, OH (Sports Network) - Drew Brees' game-winning touchdown pass to Marques Colston with 31 seconds left in regulation gave the New Orleans Saints a 34-30 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium.
Brees threw for 313 yards on 24-of-29 passing with two touchdowns and an interception for the Saints (9-3), who extended their winning streak to five.
Chris Ivory rushed for 117 yards with two scores on 15 carries and Colston caught three passes for 65 yards.
Robert Meachem caught three passes for 106 yards and a score, and Reggie Bush had 26 yards on five carries in the victory.
Carson Palmer threw for 249 yards with a touchdown on 23-of-33 passing, and Cedric Benson rushed for 49 yards with two scores on 19 carries for the Bengals (2-10), who have dropped nine straight.
Terrell Owens caught six passes for 47 yards and a score, and Chad Ochocinco had 96 yards on five receptions in defeat.
"I thought we battled today and we were fortunate to pull that one out," said Saints head coach Sean Payton. "There were some good things that we did today, yet there were also some things that could cost us in the end."
After the Saints used a quick scoring drive to go up 27-19 early in the fourth, the Bengals had their backs up against the wall and started a drive at their own 41.
Cincinnati was set to punt after failing to convert a 3rd-and-6, but New Orleans had 12 men on the field during the punt, giving the Bengals a first down close to midfield.
Four plays later, Palmer pushed Cincinnati into the red zone when he connected with Ochocinco for a 21-yard strike on 3rd-and-10. After an incompletion, a defensive holding penalty gave Cincinnati a first down at the four.
Benson punched it in on the next play, and the Bengals tied it up when Palmer hit Jermaine Gresham in the middle of the end zone for the two-point conversion.
The Bengals defense forced New Orleans into a three-and-out before taking their first lead of the game -- Clint Stitser connected on a 47-yard field goal with 4:25 remaining.
Following the two-minute warning, the Saints faced a 4th-and-2 at the Cincinnati seven. But a neutral zone infraction on defensive tackle Pat Sims gave the Saints a 1st-and-goal at the three.
Brees found Colston in the corner of the end zone for the short strike, giving the Saints the 34-30 lead with 31 seconds left on the clock.
A 47-yard kickoff return by Bernard Scott got Cincinnati to midfield, but after Palmer connected with Brian Leonard for 14 yards, the Bengals quarterback was sacked to seal the Saints' victory.
"Obviously, we're disappointed with the finish of the football game," Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said. "Allowing them to work the ball down the field with the pass play and eventually getting the touchdown because of the offside penalty. We get some things that go in our favor, and we don't take advantage of them later in the game."
The Saints worked the ball to the Cincinnati 27 on their opening drive, but Brees was sacked on third down. However, Bengals linebacker Brandon Johnson was called for running into punter Thomas Morstead, which allowed New Orleans to add a 48-yard Garrett Hartley field goal.
Cincinnati converted a 4th-and-12 in Saints territory in the final minute of the first quarter, and Stitser kicked a 29-yarder two minutes into the second.
The Saints wasted little time reclaiming the lead. On the third play from scrimmage of the ensuing drive, Ivory ran to the left side and went 55 yards to the end zone. The entire drive took 61 seconds and gave New Orleans a 10-3 advantage.
A pass interference call on the Saints' Tracy Porter gave the Bengals a 1st- and-goal at the 10. But the drive stalled, and Stitser kicked a 23-yarder. Cincinnati was back inside the 10 with 3 1/2 minutes left, and faced a 4th- and-1 at the five. But again the Bengals failed to get across the goal line, as Benson was dropped for a one-yard loss.
New Orleans took over and added a 24-yard Hartley field goal with 13 seconds left, and took the 13-6 edge to the break.
Ivory recorded his second rushing score of the game with 9:06 left in the third, when he capped an 11-play drive with a one-yard run. Ivory rushed for 30 yards on five carries during the possession.
The Bengals finally capitalized on a red zone opportunity on their first drive of the second half, when Palmer connected with Owens for a five-yard strike at the four-minute mark. The drive was highlighted by a 33-yard reception by Ochocinco to convert a third down and get the ball to the Saints' 16.
Stitler's extra point attempt went wide right, though, keeping New Orleans' lead at 20-12.
The Bengals got the ball back three plays later, when Reggie Nelson picked off Brees at the Cincinnati 47 and returned the ball to the Saints' 46.
Palmer connected with Ochocinco for 20 yards on the next play, and three plays later he hooked up with Ochocinco again. The nine-yard reception brought the ball to the New Orleans 11 at the end of the third quarter.
Three plays later Benson made it a one-point game with a one-yard rush off left guard.
Just as they did all game, the Saints responded.
After the kickoff, New Orleans started at its own 31 and got close to midfield before Brees hit Meachem down the right sideline for a 52-yard score, putting the Saints back up by eight.
New Orleans snapped a three-game losing streak to the Bengals...Ivory has rushed for five touchdowns in the last three weeks...The Bengals totaled 311 yards of offense, compared to the Saints' 436...Cincinnati was 3-of-6 in red zone opportunities; the Saints went 2-for-3...The Saints will host the St. Louis Rams next week, while Cincinnati will head to AFC North rival Pittsburgh.
12/05 20:51:02 ET