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Bengals Clinch Playoff Spot With 37-28 Win Over Broncos

Dre Kirkpatrick
Getty Images

Dre Kirkpatrick returned a Peyton Manning interception 30 yards for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter, and the Bengals rallied past the Denver Broncos, 37-28, in rainy Cincinnati on Monday night.

The Bengals’ victory clinched a record fourth straight playoff berth for the franchise. Cincinnati (10-4-1) will face Pittsburgh for the AFC North title next Sunday night.

Down 20-7 at halftime, Denver (11-4) outscored the Bengals 21-7 in the third quarter to take a 28-27 lead. Cincinnati edged back ahead on Mike Nugent’s 23-yard field goal with 7:49 to play in the game.

The Broncos were beginning to march down the field for a possible go-ahead score of their own when Kirkpatrick’s pick and return put the contest away with 2:41 to play.

Bengals’ rookie running back Jeremy Hill carried 22 times for 147 yards, including an 85-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Quarterback Andy Dalton threw for 146 yards and two scores, but he also had an interception returned 33 yards for a score by Aqib Talib.

Manning completed 28 of 44 passes for 311 yards with two touchdowns and a season-high four interceptions. Demaryius Thomas had seven receptions for 115 yards for the Broncos.

Denver’s loss gave New England home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.

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