Bengals send Jaguars to 4th straight loss, 30-20
JACKSONVILLE, Fla.—Move over, Bungles. There's a new team to ridicule in the NFL.
Strange personnel moves, clock management issues, dropped passes, botched snaps, poor punts, repeated failure in clutch situations -- the Jacksonville Jaguars have done it all this season.
And they have a four-game losing streak to prove it.
Andy Dalton threw two touchdown passes, Bernard Scott scored with 1:56 remaining and the Cincinnati Bengals rallied to beat the reeling Jaguars 30-20 Sunday.
The Bengals (3-2) took advantage of Matt Turk's 22-yard punt into a strong wind to set up the winning score, a touchdown that was needed because Mike Nugent missed an extra point in the first half and because safety Reggie Nelson blew coverage on a 74-yard touchdown pass in the fourth.
Cincinnati's mistakes were overshadowed by Jacksonville's gaffes, which prompted more questions about coach Jack Del Rio's future with the franchise.
"Pretty crappy feeling right now," Del Rio said. "Simply not acceptable on a lot of fronts. Just put it on my shoulders. I'm not doing enough. We can't have breakdowns like that at the end of the game. ... It's unacceptable."
The Jaguars (1-4) have lost seven of eight dating to last season, a streak of futility that has fans frustrated with Del Rio and players wondering if changes are on the horizon.
"At the end of the day, he's not playing," running back Maurice Jones-Drew said. "If somebody has to go, obviously it's going to be one of the players. You can call whatever you want, we have to execute the play. It's not on the coach. It's sad to say that he has to take the heat, but he shouldn't because he's not out there strapping it up, going out there to play. All he can do is sit and watch."
The latest loss was pretty much a collapse.
Jacksonville led 20-16 after Blaine Gabbert found Jason Hill behind Cincinnati's secondary for a 74-yard score in the fourth. The defense forced a punt on the ensuing drive, but rookie Cecil Shorts failed to field the bouncing ball at the 10-yard line. It rolled dead at the 2, and Jacksonville didn't risk a turnover deep in its own territory.
Instead, the Jaguars turned to a 43-year-old veteran to flip the field. Turk failed miserably, putting the Bengals in perfect position for a comeback.
Dalton hooked up with Jermaine Gresham on a fourth-and-6 play to keep the drive alive, then found Andre Caldwell for an 8-yard gain. With the Jaguars expecting a pass on third down, Scott weaved his way into the end zone to make it 23-20.
"The more experience I have going out and seeing different looks, I feel like I'm becoming comfortable," Dalton said. "Definitely getting easier."
Dalton completed 21 of 33 passes for 179 yards. He was sacked twice and threw an interception, but he also converted two fourth-down plays and connected with A.J. Green for a 37-yard score on a third-and-17.
"We could be 5-0 right now, but that's not the way it is," said Green, who caught five passes for 90 yards. "But we'll take this."
The Jaguars had a chance to tie the game, but veteran center Brad Meester zipped a snap past Gabbert's head. The Bengals recovered the ball and later scored on a wacky fumble return on the final play.
"It's not going in our favor," Jaguars receiver Mike Thomas said. "A couple of things happened down the stretch and y'all know the end result."
Little has gone right for Jacksonville this season.
Del Rio stunningly released quarterback David Garrard five days before the opener, then benched starter Luke McCown after one miserable performance. The Jaguars had clock issues at Carolina, got caught with 10 men on the field on a crucial fourth down against New Orleans last week and burned a timeout for the second straight week Sunday to avoid getting penalized for having 12 men on the field.
"You've got to make winning plays," Lewis said. "If you make losing plays here and there, it's going to add up at the end, and that's what happened."
Notes: Bengals WR Jerome Simpson (shoulder) and LB Rey Maualuga (rib) left the game, but returned. ... The Bengals finished with 239 yards, but were 8 of 19 on third down. ... Cuban referee Alberto Riveron called a penalty in Spanish in the first half, part of the NFL's recognition of Hispanic heritage month. ... Jaguars CB Drew Coleman (concussion) and left tackle Eugene Monroe (shoulder) left the game and did not return.