CINCINNATI (AP) — In the end, the only thing still perfect was the Bengals’ record.
Andy Dalton threw three touchdown passes — each to a different receiver — and Cincinnati quickly ended Philip Rivers’ streak of perfect passing while pulling away for a 24-19 victory over the San Diego Chargers on Sunday.
Dalton’s 9-yard throw to Tyler Eifert put the Bengals (2-0) in control of a mistake-filled game midway through the fourth quarter. San Diego (1-1) set up the first touchdown with a fumble.
Giovani Bernard took over as the running back after Jeremy Hill lost two fumbles. Bernard finished with 123 yards, including a 26-yard run on the drive that ended with Eifert’s touchdown.
Rivers brought a streak of 20 straight completions into the game. He completed his first two throws, and then was high with a third-down pass to Stevie Johnson.
Rivers’ 22 straight is a Chargers record and ties for third-longest in NFL history. Peyton Manning completed 23 straight. Joe Montana, Mark Brunell, David Carr and Matt Ryan had also streaks of 22 completions.
He threw a 10-yard touchdown pass early in the second half, the 255th of his career that moved him ahead of Dan Fouts for the club record. Fouts was at Paul Brown Stadium as a television analyst. Rivers added a 40-yard touchdown to Malcom Floyd with 4:20 left, cutting it to 24-19.
Rivers’ final throw was intercepted by Vinny Rey at midfield with 53 seconds left to clinch it. Rivers was 21 of 27 for 241 yards.
Dalton finished 16 of 26 for 214 yards. In wins over the Raiders and Chargers, he’s gone 41 of 60 for 483 yards with five touchdowns, no interceptions and no sacks.
Browns hold on
for 28-14 victory
CLEVELAND (AP) — From the start, he was Johnny Deepball.
Johnny Manziel threw a 60-yard touchdown pass to Travis Benjamin on Cleveland’s second play and connected with his wide receiver again for a clutch 50-yarder with 2:52 left, giving the Browns a 28-14 win over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.
Benjamin also returned a punt 78 yards for a TD in the first half as the Browns (1-1) built a 21-0 lead and hung on for just their third home-opening win since 1999.
Starting in place of the injured Josh McCown, Manziel finished 8 of 15 for 172 yards. His last completion was vintage Johnny Football as Manziel spun to his left to avoid pressure and threw deep to Benjamin.
Manziel won his Heisman Trophy matchup with Marcus Mariota, who threw two TD passes in the second half for the Titans (1-1), but took a pounding in his second game. The No. 2 overall pick was sacked seven times.
Mariota finished 21 of 37 for 257 yards. With the Titans down 14 and needing two scores, Mariota, who recorded a perfect passer’s rating last week against Tampa Bay, drove Tennessee inside Cleveland’s 20 but was sacked and stripped by defensive end Armonty Bryant.
The Browns ran out the clock and erased the memory of a brutal opener last week against the Jets.
On his first pass, Manziel faked a hand-off, dropped back and hit a streaking Benjamin, who got behind cornerback Coty Sensabaugh. As Benjamin crossed the goal line, Manziel ran the length of the field, pumping his fist the whole way before celebrating with his teammate.
The quick TD energized Cleveland’s crowd and gave Manziel a boost of confidence.
The Browns went up 14-0 in the first on Isaiah Crowell’s 11-yard run.
Benjamin, who finished with 269 all-purpose yards, made it 21-0 with his electrifying return. He caught Brett Kern’s kick, found a seam and cut toward the left sideline. Benjamin picked up a few blocks, including Pierre Desir’s knockdown of Kern, who was face down as Benjamin hurdled over him and scored.