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12/14/2012 12:40 AM EST
Bengals beat Eagles 34-13
CINCINNATI 34, PHILADELPHIA 13

By ROB MAADDI
AP Pro Football Writer

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Now the Cincinnati Bengals can focus on that
other Pennsylvania team.



Andy Dalton threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score, an
opportunistic defense forced five turnovers and Cincinnati beat
the Philadelphia Eagles 34-13 on Thursday night.



The Bengals (8-6) took a half-game lead over the Pittsburgh
Steelers 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.



"We've got nothing to celebrate here," coach Marvin Lewis said.
"But we won and we do have some time to get ready for
Pittsburgh."



The Bengals would clinch their second straight playoff berth
with a win over the Steelers if Pittsburgh loses at Dallas this
Sunday. A loss to the Steelers, though, likely would ruin
Cincinnati's chances because it would lose the tiebreaker.



"Our goal is to win games. Period. We did that. Doesn't matter
how we got there," cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones said. "We can
be better. We can be higher. And that's what we take from this
game. Listen, we all know we need to play better as a defense
next week. Because we have ourselves a big one next week."



The Eagles' season was lost a long time ago. They fell to 4-10,
losing double-digit games for the first time since 2005, the
year after losing the Super Bowl to New England.



There were plenty of empty seats at the Linc, where fans are
hoping this is Andy Reid's final season as coach. Reid led the
Eagles to nine playoff appearances, six division titles and five
NFC championship games in his first 13 years. But the Eagles
will miss the playoffs for the second straight year and owner
Jeffrey Lurie already said 8-8 would be "unacceptable."



"Five turnovers, 31 points. That says it all," Reid said. "Guys
played hard, but you can't have those turnovers. You have to
take care of the ball. Guys have to do it. I take full
responsibility for them."



An interception by Leon Hall set up Dalton's go-ahead 11-yard TD
run in the third quarter. Then Wallace Gilberry picked up Bryce
Brown's fumble and ran it back 25 yards for another score and an
11-point lead.



BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran for 106 yards, including a 1-yard TD
run in the first quarter for Cincinnati. Dalton tossed a 5-yard
TD pass to A.J. Green in the fourth to cap a 24-point outburst
in a span of 3:23.



"We realize what's at stake here, and we know we needed to put
some football plays together," Lewis said. "We put ourselves at
risk tonight, but we made plays when we needed to. We were able
to get some things going with the turnovers and that definitely
helped. We redirected some things at halftime and got everyone
on the same page."



The Eagles committed three turnovers on three straight
possessions at one point and then fumbled a kickoff when
defensive lineman Cedric Thornton let the ball fall through his
hands on a short kick.



After beating Tampa Bay on a last-second TD last week to snap an
eight-game losing streak, the Eagles tried to make it two in a
row. Turnovers got in their way again. They've committed an
NFL-high 34 and forced just 12 all season.



The Eagles snapped a drought of 22 quarters without a turnover
by recovering two fumbles in the second. Both led to field goals
by Alex Henery, helping Philadelphia to a 13-10 halftime lead.



Rookie Nick Foles made his fifth straight start for Michael
Vick, who just returned to practice this week after sustaining a
concussion on Nov. 11. Foles threw for 182 yards, one TD and one
interception.



Down 13-10, the Bengals started their rally with a turnover.



Hall intercepted Foles' deep pass and returned it 44 yards to
the Eagles 40. Foles underthrew Jeremy Maclin, who was a few
steps behind Hall.



"I feel really good anytime I have one of our receivers vertical
on a guy," Foles said. "I just have to get the ball out there
and make a better throw."



Green made an acrobatic catch for an 11-yard gain on third-and-9
a few plays before Dalton ran for the score to put the Bengals
up 17-13.



Foles, who threw for 381 yards to lead that comeback against the
Bucs, hit Riley Cooper on an 11-yard TD pass to cut it to 10-7.
Foles connected with Maclin on a 46-yard pass during the drive.



The Eagles then forced their first turnover since Nov. 5 against
New Orleans. Brandon Graham sacked Dalton, the ball popped loose
and Trent Cole recovered at the Bengals 29.



"We win as a team, we lose as a team," said Eagles defensive
coordinator Todd Bowles, who replaced Juan Castillo after six
games. "We lost as a team today."



Just two plays in, Maclin fumbled after a 6-yard catch. Carlos
Dunlap recovered and the Bengals started at the Eagles 44.
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 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 straight
game, but returned to practice this week with Vick.



NOTES: Green-Ellis surpassed 1,000 yards rushing for second time
in his career. He did it with New England in 2010. ... The
Eagles had a season-high six sacks. They have eight in two games
since defensive line coach Jim Washburn was fired, and had 20 in
first 12 games. ... Bowles confirmed he interviewed for the
coaching vacancy at Temple, his alma mater.



---



Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RobMaaddi



---



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