"He yelled out, 'Gio!' and I just opened my eyes," Bernard said. "It's weird. I guess it's a quarterback-running back relationship kind of thing."
They won their home opener and improved to 2-0 for the first time since 2006 despite losing several key players to injury, most notably Green.
The Pro Bowl receiver aggravated an injured toe on his right foot, which kept him out of practice last week. He left during the opening series and didn't catch a pass for the first time in his four-year career.
Cincinnati still put up some impressive numbers against the Falcons (1-1), who gave up nearly 500 yards for the second straight game.
"To be able to step up like that just shows the number of receivers we have," said Mohamed Sanu, who caught three passes for a team-high 84 yards and also threw a 50-yard pass.
"We got what we needed to have," Dalton said. "I think the offense was really balanced. Once we got the lead, we could focus on running the ball and eating up the clock."
"At the half, we knew we were right in the game," Ryan said. "But when you turn the ball over three times, you're not going to win. I have to be better. That's the way it goes sometimes."
Dalton was solid again, completing 15 of 23 for 252 yards without a sack or interception for the second straight game.
Cincinnati's depth was tested as several important starters went down, starting with Green's foot injury.
Notes: The Falcons had only one lineup change. Gabe Carimi started at left tackle for rookie Jake Matthews, who has a sprained ankle. ... The Bengals matched the club record with their 10th straight home victory in the regular season. They lost at home to San Diego in the playoffs last season. ... Sanu is 3 for 3 for 148 yards as a passer in his three seasons. He completed a 73-yard TD pass as a rookie, and had a 25-yard completion last season.
Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press