The Bengals took a 6-3 lead in the fourth quarter, but could not hold on and lost their home opener 13-8.
Mike Nugent connected on a 23-yard field goal after a Frank Gore fumble to give the Stripes the lead with just 9:08 remaining, but then it started to unravel for the Bengals, who are now 1-2 on the year and looking up at Cleveland, who beat the Dolphins today.
The Niners got the ball back down just three, and the Bengal defense was unable to make stops when it counted the most–particularly when it came to Vernon Davis. The Tight End from Maryland got 3 catches for 36 yards on the drive, including a big wheel route off a fake that moved them inside the 10-yard line. Kendall Hunter punched it in from the seven yard line, giving San Francisco their first lead at 10-6 with just 5:05 left in the game.
Cincinnati got the ball back with a chance to win the game with a touchdown drive, but Andy Dalton’s first pass of the drive resulted in his first interception as a pro quarterback. DB Carlos Rogers stepped in front of Andre Caldwell to set up the Niners in field goal range. The Bengals defense stiffened and forced a 53-yard field goal attempt from David Akers that was good.
Down 13-6 with 2:21 left in the game, the Bengals moved into desperation mode. Dalton quickly connected on two passes to TE Jermaine Gresham and one to Caldwell that got the ball to the 49er 36 yard line with 1:54 left, but his second interception of the game all but sealed it as DB Reggie Smith made a spectacular diving catch that was upheld on replay review.
With no timeouts remaining, the Bengal defense stopped three runs, and with just 8 seconds remaining, the 49ers took an intentional safety to make it 13-8. Their subsequent punt was fumbled ending the game.
The loss puts Cincinnati at 1-2 with Buffalo coming to town next week. The surprising Bills are 3-0 after beating the Patriots today 34-31.