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Bengals Beat Eagles 34-13 to Lead Steelers in NFL Playoff Race

The Cincinnati Bengals defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 34-13 to move ahead of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the standings for the final playoff spot in the American Football Conference.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis, quarterback Andy Dalton, Wallace Gilberry and A.J. Green had touchdowns for the Bengals, who scored 24 unanswered second-half points at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia last night.

Cincinnati is 8-6, while Pittsburgh is 7-6 ahead of its Dec. 16 visit to the Dallas Cowboys. The Steelers -- who hold the tiebreaker by virtue of their 24-17 win at Cincinnati on Oct. 21 -- host the Bengals on Dec. 23 in the next-to-last week of the National Football League regular season. Cincinnati then hosts the Baltimore Ravens, who lead the Bengals and Steelers in the AFC North with a 9-4 record.

The New York Jets (6-7) are 1 1/2 games behind Cincinnati in the battle for the final wild-card playoff spot. New York next plays Dec. 17 at Tennessee.

The Bengals lost in the first round of the playoffs last season to the Houston Texans and last reached the postseason in consecutive years in 1981-82. They haven’t won a playoff game since Jan. 6, 1991, against the Houston Oilers.

Philadelphia, which snapped an eight-game losing streak Dec. 9 against Tampa Bay, dropped to 4-10 with its fifth defeat at home this year.

Green-Ellis capped Cincinnati’s opening drive with a 1-yard touchdown run and Josh Brown added a 24-yard field goal on the visitors’ next possession.

Dalton’s Fumbles

Philadelphia cut the deficit when quarterback Nick Foles found Riley Cooper for an 11-yard score three minutes, 14 seconds into the second quarter.

Alex Henery tied it at 10-10 four minutes later with a 22- yard field goal after Dalton fumbled on a sack. Another fumble by Dalton on a sack handed Philadelphia possession at Cincinnati’s 12-yard line with 1:52 to play in the half. The Eagles had to settle for a 20-yard field goal to lead 13-10 at the break.

After running eight yards to earn a first down, Dalton scored on an 11-yard sprint with 1:16 remaining in the third quarter to give Cincinnati the lead for good. Two plays later, Gilberry returned a fumble 25 yards for a touchdown to make it 24-13 for the Bengals.

Brown added a 32-yard field goal at the start of the fourth quarter to extend Cincinnati’s lead before another fumble on the kickoff gave the Bengals the ball again. Dalton then found Green with a 5-yard touchdown pass to make it 34-13.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dex McLuskey in Dallas at dmcluskey@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net.

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