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Bengals' season back on track after win over Saints

Andy Dalton bounced back from last week's debacle, throwing three touchdown passes to lead the Cincinnati Bengals to a 27-10 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. Our takeaways:

  1. With the Browns falling to the Texans, the Bengals are back on top in the tightly contested AFC North. Dalton showed no side effects from one of the worst games in recent memory, generating the best single-game passer rating (143.9) of his career after turning in the worst (2.0) a week ago. He was aided by A.J. Green's first 100-yard game in two months, a promising sign for the stretch run. Cincinnati's season is back on track after going off the rails with just two wins in the previous seven weeks.
  1. The Saints' season-long haze was perfectly encapsulated by a complete defensive breakdown on Jeremy Hill's 62-yard run that gave the Bengals a free field goal with only one second left in the first half. The defense can't get a stop when needed, and the offense doesn't live up to its immense potential.
  1. A Bengals defense that ranked 31st against the run limited a red-hot Mark Ingram to 2.9 yards per run on 23 carries. Although Ingram had put together three straight 100-yard games, his big-play ability has been noticeably missing since suffering a shoulder injury early in the Week 9 win over the Panthers.
  1. New Orleans has lost back-to-back home games after winning 11 in consecutive fashion. Following the Falcons' victory at Carolina, the Saints have dropped to second place in an embarrassingly meek NFC South race. They have tough matchups against the Ravens and Steelers the next two weeks.
  1. An overly aggressive Saints fan interceptedJermaine Gresham's post-touchdown toss meant for a Bengals fan, elbowing the young lady in the process. When she pleaded for the ball, he refused to acknowledge her presence. The recalcitrant jerk told the sideline reporter that he had "zero remorse" and absolutely no thoughts of surrendering his souvenir from a Saints blowout loss. Hopefully Gresham will be made aware of the transgression and seek out the young lady with another form of memorabilia.

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