The Broncos also got a team-record 105-yard kickoff return from Trindon Holliday to open the second half.
The Bengals came out of their bye week with their season at a turning point. Coach Marvin Lewis went out of character and challenged Dalton and middle linebacker Rey Maualuga to become more vocal leaders, underscoring that things were slipping away.
“Losing is bad,” Lewis said. “We’ve lost four games in a row and we have a hard road to go.”
His quarterback made the game-changing play. Trailing 24-20, the Bengals had two holding penalties and a false start that set up a third-and-25 at their own 18.
As he was about to get hit, Dalton heaved a pass toward A.J. Green that was underthrown. Bailey intercepted at the Cincinnati 46-yard line, giving Dalton an interception in every game this season. The Broncos then put it away with Manning’s third TD pass.
“It’s one of those where you take a shot with A.J. and either he’s catching it or nobody’s catching it,” Dalton said. “I had pressure in my face. I threw it and couldn’t get enough on it — I was getting hit.”
Dalton was under heavy pressure much of the game and finished 26 of 42 for 299 yards with five sacks, one touchdown and the decisive interception. He had a 10-yard touchdown pass to Green, who has caught one in seven straight games. It’s the third-longest such streak in club history.
Notes: Holliday’s kickoff return was the longest allowed by Cincinnati. … Broncos RG Chris Kuper hurt his left ankle late in the third quarter and had to be helped off the field. Fox said X-rays were negative, but more tests were needed. … Decker became the fifth Bronco to catch a TD pass in five straight games. … Bengals first-round pick Dre Kirkpatrick was active for the first time and made his debut on the punt team. He hadn’t played because of a knee injury during the summer. … Jeff Faine and backup Trevor Robinson shared time at center. Both have been bothered by hamstring injuries.