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Bengals dominate Titans, improve to 3-0

Sep 22, 2014 - 1:54 AM Cincinnati, OH ( - Giovani Bernard rushed for a pair of scores and Andy Dalton became the first Cincinnati quarterback to record a receiving touchdown as the Bengals dominated Tennessee, 33-7, in Week 3 action.

"It was a good effort in all three phases today," noted Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis. "Probably our best effort of the season. We did a good job of handling the windy conditions offensively."

Dalton finished 15-of-23 for 169 yards and one interception, but hauled in an 18-yard scoring pass from Mohamed Sanu in the second quarter for the Bengals (3-0), who extended their team record to 12 straight regular-season wins at home.

A.J. Green returned from a toe injury to amass 102 yards on six catches and Bernard totaled 47 yards on 14 carries, with Jeremy Hill chipping in a rushing score.

Jake Locker was held to 185 yards and was picked off twice on just 17-of-34 efficiency for the Titans (1-2). Bishop Sankey led Tennessee with 61 rushing yards on 10 attempts.

Shonn Greene scored the Titans' lone TD while being limited to 33 yards on 10 totes, while Delanie Walker added 54 yards on four grabs in defeat.

The Bengals went ahead 10-0 on the final play of the opening quarter by making franchise history. Dalton pitched back to Sanu, who passed the ball back across the field to Dalton for an 18-yard catch-and-run TD along the left sideline.

"I was joking around all week saying, 'Who's going to catch a touchdown first me or these other guys?,'" Dalton admitted. "Hue (Jackson) said he meant to call that play the drive before. But it didn't look (today) like it did in practice -- usually the corner was folding over (out of the area of the reception), and there wasn't anyone else out there. I thought I was going to catch it and get hit. I don't know how the guy played it, but I was able to get in the end zone."

Ryan Succop missed a 44-yard field goal try on the Titans' next possession, then a holding penalty on a Titans punt from inside their own end zone on the visitors' next touch gave Cincinnati a 12-0 edge.

Though the Bengals failed to move the ball on the following series, a Locker pass was tipped into the hands of Robert Geathers and the hosts took over on the Tennessee 18. Following a pass interference call, a 1-yard plunge by Bernard provided a 19-0 advantage.

Both quarterbacks were picked off late in the first half, but neither side converted the turnovers into points.

Cincinnati went 3-for-3 on third downs during a 14-play, 80-yard late third- quarter drive capped by Bernard's second-effort 1-yard TD run to make it 26-0.

Early in the fourth, Hill stuck an arm out over the goal line through a scrum and posted a 4-yard rush and the Bengals were up by 33.

Kendall Wright's circus catch for 28 yards gave the Titans 1st-and-goal from the one on their next series, and after two Cincinnati defensive penalties, Greene punched it in on the next play with 6:09 to go.

Tennessee turned the ball over on downs on its ensuing drive, and the Bengals worked all but one play off the clock to wrap up the rout.

"We just have to get better. I agree we haven't played well enough to win football games offensively," Locker said. "We have the opportunities to make plays, but we don't make them. It starts with me missing throws. I have to make some of those throws to continue drives and give ourselves opportunities to score points."

Succop pulled a 40-yard try wide right on the game's first possession, then Mike Nugent put the hosts on the board with a 29-yard make to cap Cincy's first drive.

Game Notes

Dalton was the first signal-caller since Tyler Thigpen of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2008 to record a receiving TD ... Cincinnati has won four of the last five meetings with Tennessee ... The Bengals' last home loss in the regular season was a 20-19 setback to Dallas on Dec. 9, 2012 ... Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict was inactive as he deals with the effects of a concussion ... Prior to the contest, the Titans revealed that former placekicker Rob Bironas was killed in a single-vehicle accident in Nashville early Sunday morning.