Originally posted on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 12/2/12
The surging Cincinnati Bengals have climbed back into playoff contention behind impressive efforts on both sides of the ball. Very little, in contrast, has gone right for the injury-plagued San Diego Chargers, who appear to be falling apart. The visiting Bengals try for a fourth consecutive win Sunday against a Chargers team hoping to avoid a seventh loss in eight games. Cincinnati (6-5) closed September with three straight wins only to lose its next four but has since gotten back on track. The Bengals, who've outscored opponents by an average of 21.3 points during their current run, sit in seventh place in the AFC - just outside the playoff picture. "The anticipation comes down to these last five (games) now and what they mean and how important they are," coach Marvin Lewis said. "We're in OK position. We're not in great position, but we're in OK position. And we've got to improve upon it each and every week." While Andy Dalton has thrown nine touchdowns and no interceptions over the last three weeks, the Bengals' running game is also finally coming around. After rushing for 189 yards in a 28-6 win at Kansas City on Nov. 18, Cincinnati compiled 221 during last Sunday's 34-10 victory over Oakland. BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran for a season-high 129 yards and a score while Cedric Peerman added 61 on eight carries for the Bengals, who had been limited to an average of 93.7 rushing yards over their first nine games. Cincinnati is 7-0 when rushing for at least 130 yards since the start of last season. "We've got to keep this going," Dalton said. "The running game has done a great job the last two weeks. We've got to keep the balance." Cincinnati's defense also continues to come up big. The Bengals limited the Chiefs and Raiders to a combined 502 yards and have forced seven turnovers during their winning streak. "What's really cool is that our offense is clicking now, and our defense is clicking and special teams have been playing great," defensive tackle Domata Peko said. "So when you get us rolling on all cylinders, we're going to be a tough team to beat." Cincinnati now looks to keep things going against San Diego (4-7), which doesn't carry much momentum into Sunday's showdown. The Chargers opened 3-1 but have since dropped six of seven - with their only victory coming over the one-win Chiefs on Nov. 1. San Diego appeared to be in good shape to get back in the win column Sunday, leading Baltimore 13-10 and forcing the Ravens into a fourth-and-29 with 1:59 left. The Chargers, however, couldn't bring Ray Rice down until he gained 30 yards on a short pass, and they eventually lost 16-13 in overtime. "I guess for you guys, you can say that, and it's easy to say," coach Norv Turner replied when asked if that play summed up the team's season. "It's a play we had guys in position to make the play and we didn't handle it very well." Philip Rivers threw for 228 yards and a touchdown against the Ravens but San Diego was outgained 443-280 in total offense. Things aren't about to get any easier for the Chargers, who lost strong safety Atari Bigby to a season-ending groin injury last Sunday. Leading tackler Donald Butler (groin) is also expected to miss time while safety Darrell Stuckey (hamstring) is uncertain to play. Pro Bowler safety Eric Weddle, meanwhile, suffered a concussion last Sunday but is expected to be ready for this game. "We've lost a lot of guys throughout on offense and on defense, and we have guys that just keep coming in," Turner, who placed left tackle Jared Gaither on injured reserve last Friday, told the team's official website. "Obviously, it affects you in certain situations." San Diego's banged-up secondary could have its hands full with A.J. Green, who's tied for the league lead with 10 receiving TDs and ranks fourth with 1,022 yards. The star wideout hauled in three receptions for 111 yards against the Raiders but saw his nine-game TD streak come to an end. Cincinnati pulled out a 34-20 home win in the last matchup in this series in 2010, but has dropped five of six in San Diego since 1992.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Bright future for Minnesota Timberwolves

Eli and Archie Manning say Peyton won’t likely leave Denver if he plays in 2016

NCAA mulls changes to graduate transfer and targeting rules

Cavs active in NBA trade market, covet Jared Dudley

Roger Goodell expectedly dodges Patriots-related questions at Super Bowl

Baltimore Orioles acquire starting pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

USC athletic director Pat Haden to retire in June

Report: Browns owner ‘frustrated, emotional’ about Johnny Manziel

Raiders and Texans to play MNF game in Mexico City in 2016

Goodell wants to keep Raiders, Chargers in home markets

Deadly shooting breaks out at Dublin boxing weigh-in

Mike Shula vs. Wade Phillips: The best story of Super Bowl 50

WATCH: Avery Bradley nails buzzer beater to beat Cavs

WATCH: Jimmy Butler taken to locker room in wheel chair

Klay Thompson's first five years in historical context

WATCH: Cubs' Kris Bryant went swimming with sharks

Sports Authority taking steps to file for bankruptcy

Major League Baseball threatens to disassociate from DraftKings

NFL considering moving Pro Bowl to Australia

Joe Montana warns NFL players about potential long-term damage after retirement

Report: Two people fired for leaking Jason Pierre-Paul information

‘Crying Jordan’ photographer had no idea it existed until this week

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in the NHL playoff hunt

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

‘Actor’ Todd Gurley wants to make ‘billions’

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

Manziel's father fears for QB's life

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

10 underrated performances in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

QUIZ: Name the Super Bowl halftime performers since 1991

The merits of trading Blake Griffin to the Hornets

X-factors in Super Bowl 50

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in playoff hunt

WATCH: Tim Tebow performs 'Eye Of The Tiger'

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker