White leads Falcons to 39-32 victory over Bengals

Associated Press
Atlanta Falcons receiver Roddy White (84) makes a fingertip catch as Cincinnati Bengals' Adam Jones (24) defends in the first half of an NFL football game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Sunday, Oct. 24, 2010. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
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Roddy White had quite the reply to Chad Ochocinco's trash talking.

A dazzling one-handed catch. A juggling grab while falling into the end zone. A mighty leap to come down with a 2-point conversion.

White had 11 catches for 201 yards to outshine Cincinnati's loquacious receiving duo all by himself, leading the Atlanta Falcons to a wild 39-32 victory over the Bengals on Sunday.

The Falcons (5-2) squandered a 24-3 halftime lead, actually falling behind when Cincinnati (2-4) took advantage of two turnovers and ripped off 22 straight points in the third quarter.

The Bengals scored one of their TDs when Adam "Pacman" Jones ripped the ball away from White and returned it for a touchdown. But that mistake didn't even ruin White's day. He bounced right back in the final period.

White hauled in his second touchdown of the day with an 11-yard pass, reclaiming the lead for the Falcons. On the 2-point conversion, Matt Ryan had to scramble and finally just heaved the ball toward the end zone. No worries. White leaped over Leon Hall and two other defenders close by, yanking down the ball to put Atlanta up 32-25.

That was the last of three truly amazing plays by White. He hauled in one pass with just his right hand, using his left to fend off Jones. White also had a 43-yard touchdown when he beat two defenders and the ball popped away as he was falling, but he kept his concentration and grabbed it tumbling across the goal line.

After Cedric Benson's fumble gave the ball back to the Falcons, White made two more catches and Michael Turner powered over for his second TD on a 3-yard run with 4:33 remaining. Turner, who had only one touchdown on the season coming in, finished with 121 yards on 23 carries.

Ryan had his best game of the season, completing 24 of 33 for 299 yards and three touchdowns.

Ochocinco said the defending AFC North champion Bengals couldn't afford another loss so early in the season, and he tried to fire up his teammates — and needle the Falcons — by supposedly sending derogatory T-shirts to the Atlanta defensive backs.

No one said before the game if a shipment ever arrived, but White made it clear that he wanted to make Ochocinco pay for his jabbering. "We're going to go out there and want to run the score up on him for doing that," the receiver said during the week.

Then, he helped the Falcons do just that.

Not even big days by Ochocinco (10 catches, 108 yards) and Terrell Owens (nine catches, 88 yards) could overshadow White's performance. In fact, they weren't even the Bengals' top pass catchers — that honor went to Jordan Shipley, who piled up 131 yards on six catches, including a 64-yard touchdown.

Carson Palmer probably had a sore arm when this one was done. The Bengals quarterback completed 36 of 50 for 412 yards and three TDs, but it wasn't enough.

Owens became just the fifth player in NFL history with 150 TDs when he hauled in a 19-yard scoring toss from Palmer. Ochocinco had an 8-yard touchdown catch with 1:33 remaining, but the Falcons recovered the onside kick and sacked Palmer on the final play.

Owens was at the center of perhaps the game's biggest play midway through the fourth quarter. Breaking into the clear, he made a twisting catch at the 5 and dove for the end zone. But in his haste to score, T.O.'s left foot caught the sideline and his effort — which would have put Cincinnati in position for the tying TD — was ruled incomplete.

Benson fumbled on the next play, and the Falcons drove the other way for the score that put them ahead by two touchdowns.

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