"That's the main thing. We're not playing just to make the playoffs," Jones said. "We're playing for the bye. We played hard and physical on defense. If we keep playing hard and smart and we're going to be a real, real good team."
San Diego (5-7) lost the momentum it gained with a thrilling 41-38 comeback win at Kansas City a week earlier. The Chargers' slim playoff hopes dwindled after their fourth loss in five games.
"You score 10 points, you are going to lose most of the time," said Rivers, who completed 23 of 37 passes for 252 yards. "That's a good defense. We just weren't consistent enough."
"Obviously they jacked the coverage up a little bit and missed assignments in the middle and it worked out well for us," said Dalton, who added that the Bengals' power running game helped set up that play.
Dalton joined Peyton Manning as the only quarterbacks to start their careers with three straight 3,000-yard seasons. Dalton was 14 of 23 for 190 yards, giving him 3,144 for the season.
"It was just a seam right up the middle, man," said Green, who wasn't slowed by a hip pointer sustained during the Bengals' first drive. "I guess the two linebackers and the safety went with Jermaine (Gresham) and I just came wide open."
Weddle recovered and returned it 27 yards to the San Diego 43. The drive stalled and Nick Novak kicked a 48-yard field goal to pull to 17-10 with 4:43 left.
"We crossed the 50 I don't know how many times but we didn't finish drives," Rivers said. "It is just not the turnovers; those we know. But there are other drives where we just didn't finish and ended up punting there right around midfield and that is critical.
"This is a good team," Rivers said. "Let an opportunity pass us by? Yes. It wasn't like we had it in our grasp and they came in here and stole it from us. We knew we were going to have to play well."
Said Burfict: "Just when they'd get to the 40-yard line, we had to stop them. That's what we're good at. They cross the 50 and everybody stepped up to make plays."
NOTES:Chargers rookie Keenan Allen had eight catches for 106 yards, the fifth 100-yard game for the third-round draft pick from Cal. ... Chargers CB Derek Cox was benched in favor of Richard Marshall. Cox had been benched in three of the four previous games. ... Bengals LG Clint Boling hurt his right knee late in the first quarter.
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press