Quarterback Phillip Rivers led his team to 20 unanswered second-half points as the No. 6 seed San Diego Chargers beat the No. 4 seed Cincinnati Bengals, 27-10, in the AFC wildcard round of the NFL playoffs on Jan. 5 at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The Bengals were favored by pundits to win the game after reaching the playoffs for the third straight year. But for a third straight year the Bengals were eliminated in the wild card round, this time by a lower-ranked and arguably less-talented team.

Cincinnati led 10-7 at halftime, but Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton committed three untimely turnovers that allowed the Chargers to take the lead and gradually extend it in the second half.

Dalton finished 29-for-51 for 334 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions, a lost fumble and a 67.0 passer rating.

Unlike Dalton, Rivers threw the ball only 16 times but was highly efficient; he completed 12 passes for 128 yards, one touchdown, zero turnovers and a 118.8 passer rating.

Bengals Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Green was locked down to just three catches for 34 yards.

The Bengals finished their season 11-6, while the Chargers advanced to 10-7 and will match up against the No. 1 seed Denver Broncos in the AFC divisional round on Jan. 12 at 4:40 p.m. eastern time. The No. 4 seed Indianapolis Colts (12-5) will take on the No. 2 seed New England Patriots in the other AFC divisional round game on Jan. 11 at 8:35 p.m.


Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor