Bengals End Skid, Rout Rams 31-7

Andy Dalton throws three touchdowns, two to A.J. Green, and cornerback Leon Hall returns an interception for a score as Cincinnati picks off three Nick Foles passes and improves to 9-2.

It was so bad for the St. Louis Rams on Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium that Bengals backup quarterback A.J. McCarron made an appearance in the contest.

That was after starting quarterback Andy Dalton threw three touchdown passes, two to receiver A.J. Green and a league-best 12th to tight end Tyler Eifert, in the Bengals' 31-7 rout of the Rams.

The Bengals snapped their two-game mini-skid and improved to 9-2 while dropping St. Louis to 4-7 as Rams starting quarterback Nick Foles played so poorly while throwing three interceptions, one a third-quarter pick-six to Bengals cornerback Leon Hall, that he was eventually replaced by Sean Mannion under center.

That's pretty much all you need to know: Both back-up QBs played Sunday in Cincinnati.

Rams rookie running back sensation Todd Gurley also had a tough day, rushing for just 19 yards on nine carries, against a rejuvenated Bengals defense that is flourishing following the return of linebacker Vontaze Burfict, who finished with seven tackles, three behind team leader Dre Kirkpatrick (10).

Also keying the Bengals' defensive effort was tackle Geno Atkins with a sack, and interceptions by safety Reggie Nelson and George Iloka. Nelson leads the NFL with six interceptions. Atkins leads all NFL interior linemen with eight sacks.

Offensively for the Bengals, Dalton finished 20-of-27 passing for 233 yards and the three TDs. He completed passes to nine different receivers.

Running back Jeremy Hill was productive with a season-high 86 yards on 16 carries before limping off the field in the fourth quarter. He finished the game with his left ankle taped.

Green led the Bengals with six catches for 61 yards. His first score put the Bengals on the board in the opening quarter. His second TD helped make it 24-7. Eifert caught three passes for 40 yards before suffering a stringer injury. His TD made it 17-7. Running back Giovani Bernard had 67 total yards, 51 on two receptions.

Mike Nugent kicked a 21-yard field goal for the Bengals and made all four extra-point kicks while equaling the Rams' production of seven points.

Kevin Huber averaged 48.3 yards per punt for Cincinnati, which outgained St. Louis in total yards, 376-345. The Bengals won the turnover battle, 3-1.

More from the Associated Press:

After dropping a pair of close prime-time games, the Bengals were back in sync against a team that struggles to score and keep up. The 31 points equaled the second-most against St. Louis this season.

The Rams have dropped four in a row, in large part because their offense ranks last in the league in passing. They switched quarterbacks last week, but Case Keenum got a head injury during a 16-13 loss in Baltimore and was limited in practice.

St. Louis has scored 13 or fewer points in each of the last three games.

The longest winning streak in Bengals history ended with losses to Houston on Monday night and Arizona on Sunday night. Back at home in an afternoon game, Cincinnati settled down and pulled away.

Rams coach Jeff Fisher intended to stay with Keenum if he was healthy, but the quarterback didn't have a full practice week. Foles went 30 of 46 for 228 yards. He has seven touchdowns and nine interceptions this season.

The Rams' best play came when Gurley took a snap in the wildcat formation in the second quarter. He handed off to Tavon Austin, who ran for 60 yards -- more than the Rams had managed in all to that point. Austin's 5-yard run for a score finished the drive.

Austin had a team-high 63 yards on four runs. He also caught six passes for 33 yards.

There was more self-destruction by the Rams. A penalty for running into the punter extended a Cincinnati 14-play drive to a field goal in the second quarter.


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