LANDOVER, Md. -- On the first play of the game, quarterback Andy Dalton lined up wide right, rookie receiver Mohamed Sanu took the shotgun snap, and A.J. Green darted downfield to haul in a 73-yard touchdown pass.
"It's tough overthrowing that man," Sanu said. "I just put it where he could go get it."
"We're making plays," Green said, "all over the field."
No doubt about that. They ran several end-arounds, used a no-huddle package that befuddled the Redskins, let BenJarvus Green-Ellis take a direct snap on a 1-yard touchdown run and had touchdown completions of 48, 59 and 73 yards.
Dalton completed 19 of 27 passes for 328 yards and three touchdowns. Green caught nine passes for a career-high 183 yards and a score. The game was tied at 24 when Dalton led a pair of long fourth-quarter drives, hitting tight end Jermaine Gresham on a 6-yard completion to take the lead and Andrew Hawkins down the middle for a 59-yard strike that gave the Bengals a two-touchdown cushion with 7:08 left to play.
But Robert Griffin III has quickly proven that he's hard to shut down. He brought the Redskins (1-2) back from a 24-7 deficit, then nearly pulled even again after being down 38-24. His 2-yard run at the end of a 90-yard drive cut the lead to 38-31 with 3:35 remaining, and a potential game-tying drive went from Washington's 2 all the way to Cincinnati's 19 in the final two minutes.
Then it got weird. Griffin was sacked for a 15-yard loss. Then he spiked the ball with 7 seconds left. Then tight end Fred Davis was called for a false start. Then coach Marvin Lewis and the Bengals, anticipating a 10-second runoff, thought the game was over and walked onto the field en masse. Then an official called an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on a livid Redskins sideline.
The officials -- replacement refs while the regulars are locked out in a labor dispute with the league -- marked off a total of 25 yards for the two penalties, instead of 20.
All of which meant the game ended with Griffin's long incompletion on a third-and-50 from Washington's 41.