CINCINNATI — Strike New England off the NFL’s unbeaten list.
The Cincinnati Bengals beat the Patriots 13-6 Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium, snapping quarterback Tom Brady’s streak of 52 consecutive games with a touchdown pass in the process.
Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis scored on a 1-yard run on fourth-and-goal with 9:21 remaining to give Cincinnati a 13-3 advantage and the Bengals (3-2) defense kept New England (4-1) out of the end zone on three drives in the fourth quarter to get their first win against the Patriots in 12 years. Cornerback Adam Jones intercepted Brady at the Cincinnati 3-yard line with 16 seconds remaining to seal the win.
The win enables Cincinnati to remain in a three-way tie with Cleveland and Baltimore for first place in the AFC North.
“That’s a huge win for a football team that was playing a good team,” said coach Marvin Lewis. “It came at the right time. It came when we needed to get back at it, refocus ourselves and get to work.”
The Bengals were coming off a 17-6 loss at Cleveland last week but sacked Brady four times and limited him to 197 yards on 18-of-38 passing. He had not gone without a touchdown pass since the final game of the 2009 season at Houston. Brady’s streak is the second longest in NFL history, behind only Drew Brees’ 54-game streak.
“I’m bummed that we lost,” Brady said. “That’s all that really matters.”
It was the first time since a 16-9 loss at the New York Jets on Sept. 20, 2009 that New England failed to score a touchdown in a game. The Patriots had just one red-zone possession. It reached the Cincinnati 1 after the Bengals had taken a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter but had to settle for a 19-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski. The Patriots got the ball back one last time with 1:48 remaining following a 57-yard punt by Cincinnati’s Kevin Huber. A heavy rain storm was passing through the area at that time.
New England reached, helped by two Cincinnati defensive penalties, was able to reach the Bengals 27 before Brady was intercepted.
“Our job on offense is to score, and when we don’t do that, we are disappointed,” said New England right guard Dan Connolly. “That’s our part of the deal, and we didn’t do it.”
Cincinnati intercepted Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers twice in a 34-30 win two weeks ago, snapping Rodgers’ streak of 41 straight games without throwing multiple interceptions. The Bengals allowed Brady and the Patriots just one third-down conversion in 12 attempts and held New England to 82 yards rushing. The Patriots came into the game averaging 125 yards on the ground.
“We did a good job of applying pressure on (Brady),” said defensive tackle Geno Atkins. “We made sure he couldn’t step up. As a whole we did a great job pushing the pocket.”
Green-Ellis, who played his first four seasons with the Patriots, capped off a 14-play, 93-yard drive with his third touchdown of the season. Green-Ellis had 67 yards on 19 carries for the game against his former team. His touchdown snapped a string of 20 consecutive possessions covering 121 minutes, 34 seconds since the Bengals last scored an offensive touchdown.
Quarterback Andy Dalton was nearly sacked for a safety on the second play of the drive but completed a 28-yard pass to wide receiver Marvin Jones on third-and-15 from the 2 to get the Bengals rolling. Rookie running back Giovani Bernard followed with a 28-yard run up the middle to push the Bengals into Patriots territory.
Dalton finished the game 20 of 27 for 212 yards and one interception.
Neither offense generated much in the first half that ended tied 3-3. Cincinnati had just 151 yards, while New England gained only 134 yards. Both teams turned the ball over once on the opposing side of the field — linebacker Brandon Spikes intercepted a Dalton pass at the New England 8 on the final play of the first quarter, while Cincinnati safety Reggie Nelson recovered a fumble by LeGarrette Blount at the Bengals 24 in the second quarter.
The Bengals scored first on a 39-yard field goal by Mike Nugent with 3:12 left in the first half. Gostkowski made a 42-yard field goal for New England with 8 seconds left in the half.
Nugent’s 50-yard field goal with 5:43 left in the third quarter gave Cincinnati a 6-3 lead.
New England had beaten Cincinnati four straight times with Brady as its starting quarterback, scoring at least 34 points in each game. The last time the Bengals beat the Patriots was the 2001 season opener when Drew Bledsoe was starting.
NOTES: Dalton was intercepted in the red zone for the first time in his career in the first quarter. Dalton had 37 touchdown passes on 155 previous pass attempts before linebacker Brandon Spikes picked him off at the New England 8 on the final play of the first quarter. … Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson was inactive due to a concussion. That ended Johnson’s streak of 71 consecutive games played. … Wallace Gilberry, starting in place of Johnson, had two sacks. … New England wide receiver Danny Amendola was active for the first time since Week 1 when he had 10 catches for 104 yards against Buffalo. He had been out with a groin injury. … Rookie defensive tackle Chris Jones had 1.5 sacks, the first sacks of his career. Jones is seeing increased playing time now that Vince Wilfork has gone on injured reserve. … New England is now 35-8 in October games since 2003, including 15-7 on the road.