The Cincinnati Bengals were happier than a pig in slop knowing that running back Cedric Benson would start for them during Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions at Paul Brown Stadium. And to stay on the pig-in-slop reference, Benson ran like the proverbial pig running to the trough; he ran for 110 yards in his return from a hip injury, leading Cincinnati to the impressive 23-13 win over Detroit.
The Lions struck (roared?) first as Matthew Stafford hit paydirt, throwing a 54-yard touchdown pass to Calvin Johnson with 3:27 left in the opening quarter, allowing Detroit to take a 7-0 lead; the second quarter was all Bengals as they scored in three different ways: on a 45-yard interception return by defensive end Jonathan Fanene, a 36-yard Carson Palmer-to-Chad Ochocinco TD pass followed by a 44-yard Shayne Graham field goal; the 17 unanswered points gave the Bengals a ten-point lead going into halftime.
Cincinnati poured it on in the third quarter as Graham connected on a 39-yard FG, pushing their lead to 20-7 and would ice the game on another Graham field goal – this one a 23-yarder. The Lions, in addition to losing the game, may lose Stafford for at least a game as he was slammed to the turf by Bengals linebacker Dhani Jones late in the fourth quarter and would not return.
Palmer was mediocre, going 17-of-29 for 220 yards with a TD and an interception while Stafford went 11-of-26 for 143 yards with a TD and 2 INt’s; Daunte Culpepper came in relief, going 2-of-3 for 49 yards. Benson was impressive in his return, rushing 36 times for 110 yards to lead the Bengals while Kevin Smith led the Lions rushers with 75 yards on 16 carries.
Ochocinco led all Bengals receivers with 9 receptions for 137 yards and a TD while Johnson led the Lions receivers with 6 receptions for 123 yards and a score. Cincinnati (9-3) plays again next Sunday when they visit Minneapolis to take on the Vikings while Detroit (2-10) travels to Baltimore to face the Ravens – also next Sunday.