A.J. Green was partly correct. The defending Super Bowl champions do have a lot of holes on defense.
And everywhere else, it turns out.
Andy Dalton threw a career-high four touchdown passes — each to a different receiver — and the Bengals ended their four-game losing streak by beating the reeling New York Giants, 31-13, on Sunday in Cincinnati.
The Bengals (4-5) sustained their season by taking advantage of a championship team that appears to have hit bottom. Eli Manning threw a pair of interceptions that led to third-quarter touchdowns, and New York (6-4) had four turnovers in the second half.
‘‘That’s what won the game for us, getting the ball with great field position and scoring when we got down there,’’ said Dalton, who was 21 of 30 for 199 yards.
The talk heading into the game was generated by Green, who suggested to a New York radio station that the Giants ‘‘have a lot of holes’’ on defense.
Couldn’t argue that point after the Bengals rolled up 31 points in only three quarters.
Green had the first touchdown, a 56-yarder on the fifth play of the game, and finished with seven receptions for 85 yards.
The Giants head into their bye week with back-to-back losses and a lot of issues even though they still lead the NFC East. Manning had another subpar game, and New York suffered from bad passes, broken coverages, a dropped touchdown pass, and penalties.
Manning was sacked a season-high four times. He also threw two interceptions under pressure that led to Bengals TDs and a 31-6 lead in the third quarter. Manning finished 29 of 46 for 215 yards.
‘‘I just told the team that we certainly got into this mess together, and we’ve got to find a way to get out of it together,’’ Giants coach Tom Coughlin said.
‘‘I don’t have anything I can really say I was pleased with.’’
Seahawks 28, Jets 7
Host Seattle got two touchdown passes from Russell Wilson and one from wide receiver Golden Tate, Marshawn Lynch rushed for 124 yards and a score, and New York managed only a defensive touchdown in falling to 3-6 — its worst start since 2007.
Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez struggled in his meeting against Seattle coach Pete Carroll, his former coach at Southern Cal. Sanchez threw a costly interception at the goal line in the first half, then fumbled at the Seattle 32 on a blitz and Seattle’s Jason Jones recovered. That turnover resulted in Tate’s 23-yard pass to Sidney Rice that put the Seahawks ahead, 28-7, with 7:59 to play.
Sanchez finished 9 of 22 for 124 yards, and was sacked three times for a loss of 31 yards. Tim Tebow wasn’t much help either, rushing four times for 14 yards and passing for just 8 yards (3 of 3). Coach Rex Ryan said after the game the Jets are sticking with Sanchez as the starter.
49ers 24, Rams 24
In the NFL’s first tie game in four years, kickers from both teams missed field goals in the extra period. Host San Francisco nearly wrapped it up 4:42 into OT, but David Akers was wide left on a 42-yard attempt. St. Louis took over and put rookie Greg Zuerlein in position for a 53-yard try. The kick was good, but the Rams were penalized for delay of game. Zuerlein’s 58-yard attempt was wide right with 2:42 remaining.
The NFC West-leading 49ers (6-2-1) lost quarterback Alex Smith to a concussion in the first half. Backup Colin Kaepernick finished 11 of 17 for 117 yards and had eight carries for 66 yards, rushing 7 yards for a fourth-quarter score.
Akers’s 33-yard field goal tied the game with three seconds left in regulation after Sam Bradford put the Rams (3-5-1) on top with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Austin Pettis with 1:09 remaining.
Broncos 36, Panthers 14
Peyton Manning made sure coach John Fox’s return to Carolina was a successful one, throwing for 301 yards and a touchdown to pace Denver (6-3) to its fifth victory in six weeks. Manning hit on 27 of his 38 attempts, and his 420th scoring pass tied Dan Marino for second place on the NFL’s all-time list, behind only Brett Favre (508).
Led by linebacker Von Miller, the Broncos defense harassed Cam Newton all day, finishing with seven sacks, one for a safety. Miller pressured Newton into the first of his two interceptions, and Tony Carter returned the third-quarter takeaway 40 yards for a score and 24-7 advantage.
The Panthers (2-7) jumped to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter on a 4-yard pass from Newton to Greg Olsen, but it was all Broncos after that. Newton (21 of 36 for 241 yards) was limited to 7 yards rushing on four carries.
Cowboys 38, Eagles 23
Dallas pumped some life back into its hopes of winning the NFC East, bursting past host Philadelphia in the fourth quarter on Dwayne Harris’s 78-yard punt return for a touchdown and two defensive scores. At 4-5, the Cowboys are 1½ games behind the division-leading Giants.Continued...