New Orleans, LA (SportsNetwork.com) - Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals collectively bounced back from a terrible home loss to beat the New Orleans Saints 27-10 on Sunday at a suddenly winnable venue for road teams.
Dalton completed 16-of-22 passes for 220 yards and three touchdowns. He had a passer rating of 2.0 while throwing for only 86 yards and three interceptions in a 24-3 home loss to Cleveland on Nov. 6.
"There's no doubt I am proud of our effort today," said Cincinnati head coach Marvin Lewis. "I'm proud of our execution and our preparation leading up to the game this week. We came out here ready to play and it showed up out there on the field today."
Rookie Jeremy Hill, who played at LSU, totaled 152 yards on 27 carries for Cincinnati (6-3-1), which moved into first place in the AFC North.
Drew Brees had 255 yards and a touchdown on 33-of-41 passing for the Saints (4-6), who have lost consecutive games at the Superdome. The last time New Orleans dropped back-to-back home games came in 2012, when they lost the season opener to Washington and then to Kansas City in overtime in Week 3.
Despite their record, the Saints remain tied for first in the underwhelming NFC South.
The Saints converted three third downs on the game's opening drive that ended with Shayne Graham kicking a 31-yard field goal.
Cincinnati marched down the field on its first possession. On 3rd-and-8 from the New Orleans 12-yard line, Jermaine Gresham caught a pass at the 1, spun and extended the ball toward the goal line with his left hand. The ball was knocked loose and Gresham kicked it into the end zone, where he made the recovery for the abnormal touchdown.
The Bengals defense then made a goal-line stand as fullback Erik Lorig was tackled for a 1-yard loss on a catch in the flat on fourth down.
"We kind of felt going in we were going to run a sequence there: certain run then come back to a pass. They defended it well and we weren't able to get anything," said New Orleans head coach Sean Payton.
Dalton followed by guiding a 15-play drive that stalled inside the New Orleans 5-yard line. The Bengals chose not to gamble like the Saints and Mike Nugent made a 22-yard field goal to extend Cincinnati's lead to 10-3 with 2:52 remaining in the second quarter.
After the Saints were forced to punt, Hill ran 62 yards to set up Nugent's 42- yarder on the final play of the first half.
The Bengals began their second drive in the third quarter at midfield after a 25-yard Thomas Morstead punt. They capitalized on the short field as Dalton threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Gresham.
New Orleans trimmed its deficit to 20-10 when Kenny Stills caught a pass from Brees and dove for the left pylon on the first play of the fourth quarter.
The Saints were unable to defend wide receiver A.J. Green on the ensuing possession. Green, whose pass interference penalty backed up the Bengals, made catches of 38 and 18 yards to convert third downs before hauling in a pass down the left sideline for a 24-yard touchdown.
The Saints had won a club-record 11 straight home games in the regular season until last Sunday's overtime loss to San Francisco ... Dalton improved to 11-3-1 against NFC teams ... New Orleans running back Mark Ingram had 67 yards on 23 carries and caught a game-high seven passes for only 30 yards.