Burfict ejected, Titans score late touchdown to beat Bengals
NASHVILLE (WKRC) - For the second straight game the Bengals lost one of their few star players to ejection, and then proceeded to lose the game in a most painful fashion.
Marcus Mariota threw a seven-yard touchdown pass to DeMarco Murray with 36 seconds left to lift the Tennessee Titans to a 24-20 victory over the Bengals on Sunday in Nissan Stadium.
The touchdown capped a 12-play, 73-yard scoring drive that came after the Bengals had taken a 20-17 lead with 5:03 remaining on a 70-yard touchdown pass rom Andy Dalton to A.J. Green.
That all came after Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict was ejected late in the first half for making contact with an official.
Burfict was flagged for a late hit on Murray two plays before making contact with the official. The contact wasn't much, but he brushed aside the arm of the official while pleading his case about being pushed from behind by Titans offensive tackle Jack Conklin. The incident followed an eight-yard run by Mariota that took the ball to the Bengals 1.
The linebacker didn't immediately leave the sideline, and Murray went over the top for a touchdown, putting Tennessee up 14-6, before Burfict started walking toward the locker room.
Burfict talked to some fans behind the team bench and raised both arms in the air before finally going to the locker room.
The touchdown pass to Green came on the second play of the Bengals sixth possession of the second half. The Bengals had just 39 yards and one first down on their first five possessions of the half.
They were 1 of 10 on third down conversion attempts in the game, including 0 for 5 in the second half.
The Titans outgained the Bengals 416-308.
Dalton finished 20 of 34 for 265 yards. Green had five receptions for 115 yards. The Bengals had just 53 yards rushing on 14 carries with rookie Joe Mixon leading the way with 37 yards on nine carries.
Mariota was 25 of 44 for 264 yards and Tennessee rushed for 180 yards on 36 attempts.
The Bengals trailed after a wild first half 17-13, and it could have been worse.
After forcing the Bengals to go three-and-out on the first possession of the game, Tennessee took a 7-0 lead when it marched 84 yards in 10 plays and overcame a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty on left tackle Tyler Lewan. The touchdown came on a two-yard run by Murray with 7:56 left in the first quarter.
The Bengals responded on the next series when they moved 75 yards in eight plays and capped the drive with a 37-yard touchdown pass from Dalton to a wide open Brandon LaFell down the middle of the field with 4:44 remaining in the first quarter. Randy Bullock, who didn't kick in last week's game at Jacksonville, missed the extra point though and the Bengals trailed 7-6.
Succop missed a chance to put the Titans up 10-6 early in the second quarter, but his 48-yard field goal attempt was wide right and short. It snapped a streak of 56 straight made field goals by him inside 50 yards.
The attempt came after the Titans had driven from their own 1 to the Bengals 29 and should have scored a touchdown, but on 1st-and-10 from there Mariota hit wide open Rishard Matthews in stride at the Bengals 5 and he dropped the ball.
On the third play after Succop's miss, Dalton was hit from the blind side by Brian Orakpo and fumbled. Derrick Morgan recovered for the Titans at the Bengals 27.
On the second play of the ensuing Tennessee possession Burfict was called for unecessary roughness for bumping Murray late out of bounds following a four-yard run to the Bengals 9.
The penalty moved the ball to the Bengals 9, and on second-and-goal from there Mariota ran to the Bengals 1 and after the play Burfict was called for making contact with the official.
Murray scored from the 1 on the next play to put the Titans on top 14-6 with 5:08 remaining in the first half.
The Bengals then drove from their own 24 to the Titans 9 in five plays, but on first-and-goal from there on the first play following the two-minute warning Dalton fumbled a snap from center and Morgan recovered on the Tennessee 13 with 1:56 left in the half.
On Tennessee's first play from scrimmage though Mariota threw a pass right to Bengals cornerback Darqueze Dennard at the Titans 23 and he returned it to the Titans.
Mixon scored on the first play following the interception to pull the Bengals within 14-13 with 1:42 remaining in the half.
That turned out to be enough time for the Titans to drive to the Bengals 26, and Succop drilled a 44-yard field goal on the final play of the half to up Tennessee's lead to 17-13.
The Titans outgained the Bengals in the first half 267-157.
Dalton was 11 of 15 for 132 yards, one touchdown and no interception for a rating of 122.1.
The Bengals rushed for just 35 yards in the half, 20 by Mixon on six carries.
LaFell had five receptions for 87 yards.
Mariota was 15 of 21 for 147 yards and a rating of 70.9 thanks to the interception.
The Titans also rushed for 129 yards on 19 carries. Derrick Henry led the way with 39 yards, while Mariota had 36 and Murray had 30.
NOTEWORTHY: Defensive tackle Geno Atkins recorded his team-high sixth sack of the season in the first quarter. ... Rookie wide receiver John Ross was active, but only played two snaps in the first half and was targeted once. It came when he tried to run a go route up the right sideline and stopped running when he was contacted by a Titans cornerback. ... Cornerback William Jackson III recorded his first career sack in the second half, but left the game soon after due to a toe injury. ... Rookie Carl Lawson also recorded a sack one play after Jackson giving him 5.5 sacks on the season. ... Cornerback Adam Jones left the game midway through the third quarter after a hard tackle of Mariota and was tested for a concussion. ...
INACTIVES: Here are the seven players that each team made inactive for Sunday's game:
- Bengals: CB KeiVarae Russell; S Shawn Williams (hamstring); MLB Kevin Minter (elbow); G Alex Redmond; G Christian Westerman; WR Tyler Boyd; DT Pat Sims.
- Titans: QB Brandon Weeden; WR Darius Jennings; CB Kalan Reed; DB Curtis Riley; LB Nate Palmer; G Quinton Spain; DE David King.