A.J. Green was partly correct. The defending Super Bowl champions do have a lot of holes on defense.
And everywhere else, it turns out.
Andy Dalton threw a career-high four touchdown passes — each to a different receiver — and the Bengals ended their four-game losing streak by beating the reeling New York Giants, 31-13, on Sunday in Cincinnati.
The Bengals (4-5) sustained their season by taking advantage of a championship team that appears to have hit bottom. Eli Manning threw a pair of interceptions that led to third-quarter touchdowns, and New York (6-4) had four turnovers in the second half.
‘‘That’s what won the game for us, getting the ball with great field position and scoring when we got down there,’’ said Dalton, who was 21 of 30 for 199 yards.
The talk heading into the game was generated by Green, who suggested to a New York radio station that the Giants ‘‘have a lot of holes’’ on defense.
Couldn’t argue that point after the Bengals rolled up 31 points in only three quarters.
Green had the first touchdown, a 56-yarder on the fifth play of the game, and finished with seven receptions for 85 yards.
The Giants head into their bye week with back-to-back losses and a lot of issues even though they still lead the NFC East. Manning had another subpar game, and New York suffered from bad passes, broken coverages, a dropped touchdown pass, and penalties.
Manning was sacked a season-high four times. He also threw two interceptions under pressure that led to Bengals TDs and a 31-6 lead in the third quarter. Manning finished 29 of 46 for 215 yards.
‘‘I just told the team that we certainly got into this mess together, and we’ve got to find a way to get out of it together,’’ Giants coach Tom Coughlin said.
‘‘I don’t have anything I can really say I was pleased with.’’
Seahawks 28, Jets 7
Host Seattle got two touchdown passes from Russell Wilson and one from wide receiver Golden Tate, Marshawn Lynch rushed for 124 yards and a score, and New York managed only a defensive touchdown in falling to 3-6 — its worst start since 2007.
Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez struggled in his meeting against Seattle coach Pete Carroll, his former coach at Southern Cal. Sanchez threw a costly interception at the goal line in the first half, then fumbled at the Seattle 32 on a blitz and Seattle’s Jason Jones recovered. That turnover resulted in Tate’s 23-yard pass to Sidney Rice that put the Seahawks ahead, 28-7, with 7:59 to play.
Sanchez finished 9 of 22 for 124 yards, and was sacked three times for a loss of 31 yards. Tim Tebow wasn’t much help either, rushing four times for 14 yards and passing for just 8 yards (3 of 3). Coach Rex Ryan said after the game the Jets are sticking with Sanchez as the starter.
49ers 24, Rams 24
In the NFL’s first tie game in four years, kickers from both teams missed field goals in the extra period. Host San Francisco nearly wrapped it up 4:42 into OT, but David Akers was wide left on a 42-yard attempt. St. Louis took over and put rookie Greg Zuerlein in position for a 53-yard try. The kick was good, but the Rams were penalized for delay of game. Zuerlein’s 58-yard attempt was wide right with 2:42 remaining.
The NFC West-leading 49ers (6-2-1) lost quarterback Alex Smith to a concussion in the first half. Backup Colin Kaepernick finished 11 of 17 for 117 yards and had eight carries for 66 yards, rushing 7 yards for a fourth-quarter score.
Akers’s 33-yard field goal tied the game with three seconds left in regulation after Sam Bradford put the Rams (3-5-1) on top with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Austin Pettis with 1:09 remaining.
Broncos 36, Panthers 14
Peyton Manning made sure coach John Fox’s return to Carolina was a successful one, throwing for 301 yards and a touchdown to pace Denver (6-3) to its fifth victory in six weeks. Manning hit on 27 of his 38 attempts, and his 420th scoring pass tied Dan Marino for second place on the NFL’s all-time list, behind only Brett Favre (508).
Led by linebacker Von Miller, the Broncos defense harassed Cam Newton all day, finishing with seven sacks, one for a safety. Miller pressured Newton into the first of his two interceptions, and Tony Carter returned the third-quarter takeaway 40 yards for a score and 24-7 advantage.
The Panthers (2-7) jumped to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter on a 4-yard pass from Newton to Greg Olsen, but it was all Broncos after that. Newton (21 of 36 for 241 yards) was limited to 7 yards rushing on four carries.
Cowboys 38, Eagles 23
Dallas pumped some life back into its hopes of winning the NFC East, bursting past host Philadelphia in the fourth quarter on Dwayne Harris’s 78-yard punt return for a touchdown and two defensive scores. At 4-5, the Cowboys are 1½ games behind the division-leading Giants.
The Eagles fell to 3-6 and lost Michael Vick to a concussion after consecutive bruising hits in the second quarter. Rookie backup Nick Foles went 22 of 32 for 219 yards and threw his first TD pass, but also had his first interception returned 47 yards for a score by Brandon Carr and lost a fumble that Dallas’s Jason Hatcher recovered in the end zone.
Titans 37, Dolphins 3
Tennessee turned four Miami turnovers in 20 points, and the Titans rebounded from a 31-point loss to Chicago a week ago by sending the Dolphins to their most lopsided home loss since 1968, and their worst anywhere since January 2000.
The Titans (4-6) came into the game on pace to set an NFL record for points allowed in a season, but they stymied Miami (4-5) by intercepting Ryan Tannehill three times and recovering a fumble by Reggie Bush to set up a touchdown. Colin McCarthy returned his second-quarter interception 49 yards for a touchdown and 21-0 lead.
Vikings 34, Lions 24
Adrian Peterson raced 61 yards for the game-sealing touchdown midway through the fourth quarter in Minneapolis, padding his NFL rushing lead with 171 yards on 27 carries as the Vikings improved to 6-4. Peterson gained 120 yards in the final 15 minutes and had a rush of at least 60 yards for the third straight game.
Detroit’s Calvin Johnson had 207 yards on 12 catches, including an 11-yard touchdown that brought the Lions (4-5) within 10 with 1:53 left. But Johnson also lost a fumble near midfield on Detroit’s previous possession to put Vikings rookie Blair Walsh in position for his fourth field goal.
Buccaneers 34, Chargers 24
Josh Freeman threw a pair of touchdown passes and host Tampa Bay (5-4) scored on a blocked punt and interception return while picking up its third win in a row. Freeman, who was 14 of 20 for 210 yards, has thrown for 13 TDs with just one interception in his past five games.
Philip Rivers passed for 337 yards and three scores for San Diego. However, he was intercepted twice in the fourth quarter by the NFL’s lowest-ranked pass defense to ruin any chance of the Chargers (4-5) coming from behind.