Bengals QB Andy Dalton was doomed by mistakes at the center position Sunday and that could continue as injuries have ravaged the position. (AP Images)

Two of the biggest plays in Sunday's loss to Denver came consecutively on the second to last drive of the game. With Denver on top 24-20, the Bengals ran off 10 plays but actually moved nine yards in the wrong direction.

Andy Dalton nearly survived an onslaught of penalties and pressure, when on third-and-15 he fired a pass of his back foot for a 19-yard gain to A.J. Green. Only, against a three-man rush C Jeff Faine set up poorly and was forced to hold the Von Miller.

The 29-yard swing put the Bengals in a third-and-25 situation where they would need to hurl a pass deep to Green hoping at the very least a long throw would serve as a 40- to 50-yard punt. Only, Faine got beat badly for a second straight play and Dalton was hit attempting to heave it up to Green. When the pass came down 20 yards shy of the target area, Champ Bailey was there for the interception.

“That was a three-man rush,” offensive coordinator Jay Gruden said. “Clint (Boling ) could have helped out a little bit. There’s no reason for them to get that pressure. But he did. Good rush.”

Peyton Manning flipped that good rush into the game-clinching touchdown on a short field.

The two plays served as a microcosm of the entire fourth quarter for the Bengals. Four penalties and a turnover marked their effort while perfect 6 of 6 passing and two touchdowns lined Manning's stat sheet.

Without veteran Kyle Cook (ankle), whose return doesn't appear to be in the near future, the experiment at center is catching up to the offense. Undrafted free agent Trevor Robinson started the game and played well in according to Marvin Lewis, but left with a hamstring injury at halftime.

“He did OK,” Lewis said. “He’s done a good job. Every chance he gets to play, he does a good job.”

Faine, who was signed off the street at the end of preseason when Cook went down, has been nursing a hamstring issue of his own and it showed as the Broncos gave him fits, specifically on those final drives.

The line was able improve in the running game up the middle, but the inconsistency holding the depth of the pocket will continue to be an issue if Robinson or Faine can't stay healthy or improve. Those problems holding the pocket led to Dalton being hit as he throws and the 11 interceptions in eight games.

Follow Paul Dehner Jr. for Bengals updates on Twitter at @CBSBengals.