CINCINNATI — A.J. Green was partly correct. The defending Super Bowl champions do have a lot of holes on the defense.
And everywhere else, it turns out.
Andy Dalton threw a career-high four touchdown passes — each to a different receiver — and the Cincinnati Bengals ended their four-game losing streak by beating the reeling New York Giants 31-13 on Sunday.
The Bengals (4-5) sustained their season by taking advantage of a championship team that appears to have hit bottom. Eli Manning threw a pair of interceptions that led to third-quarter touchdowns, and New York (6-4) had four turnovers in the second half overall.
“That’s what won the game for us, getting the ball with great field position and scoring when we got down there,” said Dalton, who was 21 of 30 for 199 yards without a sack or interception.
The talk heading into the game was generated by Green, who suggested to a New York radio station that the Giants “have a lot of holes” on their defense.
Couldn’t argue that point after the Bengals rolled up 31 points in only three quarters.
“I just feel like this is a good stepping block for us,” said Green, who had the first of the four TDs. “I put a lot of pressure on myself.”
Now, the Giants are starting to feel a little pressure themselves.
They head into their off week with back-to-back losses and a lot of issues, especially on offense. Manning had another subpar game, failing to live up his family legacy of beating the Bengals. Older brother Peyton improved to 8-0 against Cincinnati on the same field a week earlier, leading Denver to a 31-23 win.
This one was surprisingly lopsided as the Giants hurt themselves with bad passes, broken coverages, a dropped touchdown pass and penalties in front of a less-than-capacity crowd of 56,614.
“No, I’m not worried,” Manning said. “Over the years, we’ve gone through stretches where we haven’t played our best football and we’ve been able to bounce out of that, and that’s what’s going on right now.”
Manning was sacked a season-high four times by a defense that hardly touched his brother. He also threw two interceptions under pressure that led to Bengals TDs and a 31-6 lead in the third quarter. Manning finished 29 of 46 for 215 yards, falling to 1-2 career against Cincinnati.
Manning threw for only 125 yards, his fewest in four years, during a sloppy 24-20 loss to the Steelers last Sunday that finished a week of turmoil from Superstorm Sandy. The Giants badly wanted to get back in form before their bye week.
Instead, they were worse.