Here's what we learned from Cincinnati's huge 17-10 victory in San Diego:
1. The Bengals got the ball back with 4:48 left in the game, up seven points. The Chargers didn't touch the ball again. Running backs BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Giovani Bernard ran it up the gut on San Diego all day. The Bengals rushed the ball 38 times and passed it just 23 times on the day.
2. Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton had an embarrassing first half with 41 yards and an interception on a woeful deep ball that looked like a punctured balloon. He was much sharper in the second half. Give Dalton and Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden credit for staying aggressive at times when the situation called for it in the fourth quarter.
3. San Diego tight end Antonio Gates lost one fumble and dropped another pass that was picked off. Chargers rookie wide receiver Keenan Allen also lost one fumble. It was a strange game for Philip Rivers; San Diego kept turning the ball over through no fault of his own.
4. This is the Bengals' recipe for relevance in the playoffs: a suffocating defense, great running and just enough plays from Dalton. At 8-4, it's much harder to imagine the Bengals blowing their AFC North lead now.
5. No defense has more coverage busts than the Chargers. When guys get open against their secondary, they get wide open. And too often, the Chargers give up big plays after a reception is made like a crucial Andrew Hawkins catch and run in the second half.
6. Hawkins adds another element to the Bengals' offense now that he's rounding into form. With rookie tight end Tyler Eifert playing inconsistent, it's good for Dalton to get another receiver in the slot.
7. The Chargers' defense didn't have a QB hit or sack Sunday. We wouldn't rule out any team that has a quarterback playing so well, but that's why this team isn't likely to make a late-season run to the playoffs. At 5-7, San Diego needs to win out.