The Bengals benefited from a four touchdown performance from Palmer, who of recent has come under criticism from his less than stellar play this season. At 3-11 the Bengals came into the game playing spoiler and came out having done just that. Palmer threw a touchdown in both the first and second quarters (one to tight end Jermaine Gresham and one to wide receiver Jerome Simpson, the first of his two touchdown receptions on the day). Kicker Clint Stitser failed to convert one of the two extra-point attempts that he had during that first half, leaving the Bengals with only a 13-3 lead heading into the third quarter.
Ryan Mathews responded for the Chargers in the third quarter with a 23-yard touchdown run. Palmer threw for another two touchdowns, one to wide receiver Jordan Shipley for a three yard touchdown and the second of the day to Simpson. Running back Benard Scott put the game out of reach for the Chargers with a 10-yard touchdown run that made the score 34-10 with 3:54 left in the game.
Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Kelly Washington with 1:27 left in the game to salvage his statistics somewhat. Rivers finished the day 27-40 for 256, a touchdown and an interception.
The game ended with the Bengals on top of the Chargers by 14, 34-20.