JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Cincinnati Bengals utilized big plays in the second quarter and capitalized on the blundering of Jacksonville quarterback Blake Gabbert for their third straight win with a 27-10 route of the Jaguars 27-10 on Sunday at Everbank Field.
The Bengals moved to 3-1 after being routed 44-13 in the season-opening game against Baltimore and into a tie for first in the AFC North with the Ravens.
Jacksonville (1-3) lost its second one-sided game at home in a row.
Cincinnati trailed the Jaguars 7-3 entering the second quarter after Gabbert threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Marcedes Lewis on the third play of the quarter. Two possessions later, the Bengals lined up to punt on fourth-and-1 from their own 34-yard line but snapped the ball to upback Cedric Peerman. He dashed 48 yards down the right side to the Jaguars’ 18. Four plays later, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton flipped a 1-yard touchdown pass to fullback Chris Pressley to give Cincinnati a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
“It’s a play that we run and it was there so we called it,” Peerman said. “I’m just glad it worked out. You always have to be ready for an opportunity that comes up for any potential play you can make. That’s what it was.”
The Jaguars helped the Bengals just before the touchdown when safety Dwight Lowery committed pass interference on an incomplete pass by Dalton on third-and-5.
When Cincinnati got the ball back, Dalton led them downfield on a six-play, 60-yard drive that used only 2:02 on the clock. He connected with wide receiver A.J. Green for a 42-yard pass to the Jacksonville 1-yard line and Dalton bulled over from the 1 two plays later for a 17-7 halftime lead.
“They played one-on-one on A.J. and we had the right call for it,” Dalton said. “He made a great play and a great catch. I wish he could have put it in the end zone. Any time we get one-on-one, we’re going to take those chances and throw him the ball.”
The Jaguars cut into the lead in the third quarter on Josh Scobee’s 21-yard field goal, but Cincinnati put the game out of reach early in the fourth quarter when Dalton found Green with an 18-yard touchdown pass and Mike Nugent kicked a 35-yard field goal.
The field goal was set up when strong safety Chris Crocker intercepted a deep pass from Gabbert, intended for first-round draft pick Justin Blackmon. Crocker, who was signed this past week, was pushed out of bounds at the Jaguars’ 16 and Nugent kicked the final points of the day.
“Today was rough, but you know we’re going to get back to work,” said Jaguars wide receiver Cecil Shorts, whose 80-yard TD pass from Gabbert last week was the winning play against Indianapolis. “There’s nothing to panic about.”
Dalton outshined Gabbert in a battle of second-year quarterbacks. Dalton completed 20 of 31 passes for 244 yards and two touchdowns. Gabbert, unable to get the time to throw deep, was 23 of 34 for 186 yards and was sacked six times.
“We failed to make some plays early and let the game get out of hand late,” Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey said. “We haven’t put a complete game together. If we can’t finish games, we can’t win games. The plan is to stay the course. Eventually, it will go in the right direction.”
Dalton’s interception didn’t hurt the team. Picked off by Jaguars linebacker Kyle Bosworth, the Bengals got the ball right back when Bosworth fumbled and tackle Andre Smith recovered.
Notes: The Jaguars honored former running back Fred Taylor by enshrining him in the team’s version of a ring of honor. Taylor holds the franchise record for career rushing (11,271 yards), 100-yard games (47) and rushing in a game (234 yards against Pittsburgh in 2000). Taylor is 15th on the NFL career rushing list. … Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis lost his first fumble as an NFL player in the third quarter, at the Jaguars’ 1. It broke a streak of 605 touches without a fumble, the longest streak in league history for a player at the start of his career. … After losing seven road games in a row to the Jaguars between 1998-2005, the Bengals have won the last two meetings at Everbank Field. The Bengals won 30-20 last season. … Cincinnati is the third-most frequent opponent for the Jaguars in franchise history. The Jags have played the Bengals 19 times (holding an 11-8 record), behind the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans (34) and Pittsburgh (21). … The Cincinnati run defense, ranked 31st in the NFL, held Maurice Jones-Drew to 38 yards and the Jaguars to 69.