CINCINNATI - In all sorts of weather, under all kinds of pressure, Tom Brady threw at least one touchdown pass week after week. His streak went on for 52 games, the second-longest in NFL history.
He couldn't keep it going in Cincinnati, not even with the Patriots a yard away.
The Bengals ended his streak with a 13-6 victory on Sunday that ended in a downpour with New England passing away and missing. New England (4-1) failed to get into the end zone for the first time since a 16-9 loss to the Jets on Sept. 20, 2009.
"I'm bummed that we lost," Brady said of his broken streak. "I think that's all that really matters."
The Bengals (3-2) are making a habit of taking down the top passers. Two weeks earlier, they stymied Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers at Paul Brown Stadium. Now, Brady knows what it's like to feel Cincinnati's pressure.
"It's definitely fun to watch those guys go out and play," Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton said. "They're doing so many good things, and to see what they do to a guy like Tom Brady and what they've done to a lot of these quarterbacks — they're some of the best in the league.
"They're playing unbelievable."
Five things learned from the low-scoring win:
BENGALS DEFENSE GETS TO QBs: The first time that Brady tried to pass, Geno Atkins dropped him on his back. It was the start of a rough day for yet another top quarterback. The Bengals gave Aaron Rodgers a hard time in a win over the Packers two weeks ago, and held Brady to 18 of 38 passing for 197 yards, one interception and four sacks.
"All week long, all you guys were talking about was Tom Brady," safety Chris Crocker said. "We wanted them to be talking about us."
They are now.
BENGALS FIND AN IDENTITY: After failing to score a touchdown during a 17-6 loss at Cleveland, the Bengals did some re-evaluation to try to figure out what kind of identity they'd like to have. The answer: Run the ball.
They ran it 39 times for 162 yards against the Patriots, a healthy 4.2-yard average. BenJarvus Green-Ellis had 67 yards and rookie Giovani Bernard had 62. Green-Ellis scored the game's only touchdown on a 1-yard run that completed a 14-play, 93-yard drive that took 7 minutes, 48 seconds.
"We ran the ball a lot and played physical and we're built to be that way," left tackle Andrew Whitworth said.
PATRIOTS PASSING STILL A WORK IN PROGRESS: Danny Amendola returned after missing three games with a groin injury. He was targeted nine times but had only four catches for 55 yards. After his break-out game against Atlanta, rookie Kenbrell Thompkins was held to three catches for 16 yards.
New England seemed to be making progress during the first four weeks with a new cast of receivers. In Cincinnati, they took a big step backward.
"We had too many stilly execution errors and mental mistakes today," Brady said. "It is hard to drive the ball down the field if you keep making those mistakes."
ABOUT THAT STREAK: Brady came within a few feet of extending his TD streak. Amendola fell down while making a 16-yard catch at the 1 and rolled into the end zone. Crocker touched him as he hit the ground and started to roll, making him down at the 1-yard line. The Patriots ran one time for no gain, and Brady threw a pair of incompletions, forcing New England to settle for a field goal.
So close. Instead, Brady's streak ended at 52 games with a touchdown pass, two shy of Drew Brees' mark.
ABOUT THOSE OTHER STREAKS: The Patriots' streak of four straight wins over the Bengals was snapped. They also failed to open 5-0 for the fourth time in franchise history and the first since 2007. Their streak of four straight wins over Cincinnati — the last three by lopsided margins — also ended. Brady remains one touchdown pass away from moving into a tie with Fran Tarkenton for fourth place all-time at 342.
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