CINCINNATI — Picked apart and run over. The Falcons defense had a horrid day in just about every way.
And unfortunately, it felt familiar.
The Bengals lost top receiver A.J. Green to a foot injury on the first series, but it barely slowed them down. Giovani Bernard ran for 90 yards and turning Andy Dalton’s under-duress passes into big plays on Sunday, leading Cincinnati to a 24-10 victory.
On defense, Atlanta (1-1) was little more than a speed bump much of the time.
“We didn’t come to play today and we didn’t play well,” defensive lineman Jonathan Babineaux said.
That’s two weeks in a row.
The Falcons gave up 472 yards and 30 first downs during a 37-34 overtime victory against New Orleans in their opener. The Bengals (2-0) piled up an identical 472 yards and 21 first downs.
“You can’t give up (472) yards week-in and week-out and expect to win,” coach Mike Smith said. “We did not tackle well, took some poor angles and got outrun. We did not pursue well.”
Their offense didn’t do much, either.
Cincinnati’s biggest challenge was to shut down Matt Ryan, coming off the best game of his career. Ryan threw for a club-record 448 yards and three touchdowns in the opening win over New Orleans.
The Bengals’ blitzing defense got to him. Ryan was 24 of 44 for 231 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions, one of which set up Hill’s 1-yard touchdown run for a 24-3 lead in the third quarter.
Nothing new about the Bengals holding down a top passer. Last season, they got the best of Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Matthew Stafford, Andrew Luck, Philip Rivers, Joe Flacco and Ben Roethlisberger on their way to the AFC North title.
“At the half, we knew we were right in the game,” Ryan said. “But when you turn the ball over three times, you’re not going to win. I have to be better. That’s the way it goes sometimes.”
The Bengals won their home opener and improved to 2-0 for the first time since 2006 despite losing several key players to injury, most notably Green.
The Pro Bowl receiver aggravated an injured toe on his right foot, which kept him out of practice last week. He left during the opening series and didn’t catch a pass for the first time in his four-year career.
Cincinnati still put up some impressive numbers. The centerpiece was Bernard, who ran 27 times for 90 yards, including a 4-yard touchdown.
He also caught a team-high five passes for a career-high 79 yards, including a 46-yard catch-and-run when Andy Dalton flipped the ball to him as he was getting hit.
Rookie Jeremy Hill ran for 74 yards and a touchdown, and the Bengals rushed for 170 overall.
Dalton was solid again, completing 15 of 23 for 252 yards without a sack or interception for the second straight game.
Dalton hit Mohamed Sanu on a quick slant against an all-out blitz during the third quarter, and the receiver turned it into an easy 76-yard touchdown when cornerback Robert Alford dived in front to try to knock down the ball and missed.
“I went to bat the ball down and I just tipped it,” Alford said. “I’ve got to make that play.”
Sanu also completed a 50-yard pass off a pitch out from Dalton during the Bengals’ wasteful first half. They piled up 293 yards, but managed only 10 points. Mike Nugent missed field goal attempts of 38, 49 and 55 yards.
Cincinnati’s depth was tested as several important starters went down, starting with Green’s foot injury.
Already missing tight end Tyler Eifert, the Bengals lost tight end Alex Smith to an injured left biceps in the first half. Right guard Kevin Zeitler hurt his right calf in the first half and didn’t return.
Pro Bowl linebacker Vontaze Burfict left in the second half with a pinched nerve in his neck after taking a teammate’s knee to the helmet. Burfict suffered a concussion in a season-opening win at Baltimore and missed practice during the week.
Notes: The Falcons had only one lineup change. Gabe Carimi started at left tackle for rookie Jake Matthews, who has a sprained ankle. ... The Bengals matched the club record with their 10th straight home victory in the regular season. They lost at home to San Diego in the playoffs last season. ... Sanu is 3 for 3 for 148 yards as a passer in his three seasons. He completed a 73-yard TD pass as a rookie, and had a 25-yard completion last season.