No, all they had to do was bide their time and wait for the San Diego Chargers to cough up another fourth-quarter lead.
"We kept overcoming adversity and we didn't flinch," coach Marvin Lewis said. "We just went out there and went back to work. ... We weren't perfect. But we had to keep playing and make adjustments and keep coming."
The Chargers (4-8) lost their fourth straight game and for the seventh time in eight games, and remain mathematically, but not realistically, alive in the wild-card chase.
With four games left in Turner's sixth season as head coach, the Chargers are assured of their third non-winning season in the past five years. They were 8-8 last season and in 2008.
The Chargers were shut out in the second half after taking a 13-10 halftime lead. They didn't score an offensive touchdown for the third time this season.
On second-and-goal, Dalton pump-faked right and then ran up the middle, dived for the end zone and got the ball across for a 17-13 lead. Dalton said the Bengals called a screen but it was well-defended.
"I thought I was going to be able to throw it quick somewhere. But I wasn't able to, then I just found a lane and was able to get in.
"Not everything is going to go exactly as you plan. It's what you do when everything breaks down. It was a big play that we needed at that point."
"Tonight for the most part, we didn't turn it over until the last two," Rivers said. "We're fighting like crazy to score. We're in a rut and all we can do is keep playing."
Keeping the Chargers' offense out of the end zone was "really big," Dunlap said. "That's huge because this team can put up a lot of points. They have a lot of scorers and great players on their offense. So for us to shut them out, that speaks volumes for our defense and that's just the foundation of what we want to do as a defense."
The Bengals overcame three turnovers, including two interceptions by Dalton. One of them was returned 31 yards for a touchdown by Demorrio Williams.
San Diego made it to the Bengals 1 with a second before halftime and had to settle for Novak's 19-yard field goal for a 13-10 lead.
NOTES: San Diego is 21-23 since its last playoff appearance, a home loss to the New York Jets following the 2009 season. ... Bengals CB Dre Kirkpatrick sustained a concussion in the fourth quarter. ... Chargers RT Jeromey Clary had a knee injury in the first quarter and didn't return. ... Gates hasn't caught a TD pass in three straight games and remains one shy of tying Lance Alworth's team career record of 81. ... Williams also returned an interception for a touchdown in the Chargers' last win, 31-13 against Kansas City at home on Nov. 1. ... Robert Meachem, who was expected to help replace Vincent Jackson in the Chargers' offense, had zero passes thrown to him for the second straight week. It was his fifth game without a catch. ... The Chargers have been blacked out in Southern California for the second straight week and third time this season.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press