Mike Nugent hit a 43 yard field goal with 6:44 to go in overtime to lift the Bengals to a 27-24 win over the Bills. Thad Lewis brought the Bills back from a 24-10 deficit with 4th quarter touchdown passes of 22 yards to Scott Chandler and 40 yards to Marquise Goodwin with 1:08 left that tied it up. The Bills defense played awful in the first half as the Bengals opened up a 17-7 lead with scores on their first three possessions. Lewis ran it in from three yards out on his first series that ended up being an 83 yard scoring drive. Andy Dalton threw three touchdown passes. Brandon Tate returned a Brian Moorman punt 29 yards to setup the winning the kick.
The Turning Point:
Nugent's Miss: The only reason the Bills were able to force overtime was because Mike Nugent missed a 34 yard field goal after a 24 yarder he hit was nullified by a holding penalty. The miss kept the Bills to within two touchdowns and seemed to fire them up as they were able to rally to tie it.
The Big Drive:
The Bengals took the ball from their two yard line after a great goal line stand and marched 98 yards to take a 17-7 lead. The big play on the drive was a 54 yard screen pass to A.J. Green. The Bengals converted two 3rd and 1 plays and Dalton made a heads up play with a shovel pass under pressure. Giovani Bernard made three players miss on his way to the end zone.
Stat I Did Like:
Lewis Passing Stats: 19 of 32 for 216 yards 2 TDs, 0 INTs.
Stat I Didn't Like:
Yards Given Up: 483 yards of offense for the Bengals allowed them to gain the big lead in the first place.
Quick Slants: -Stevie Johnson had his consecutive start streak snapped at 48, it was the 2nd longest streak by a WR in the league behind Larry Fitzgerald. -Doug Legursky got the start at left guard and rotated with Colin Brown. Justin Rogers was inactive for the first time this year after starting every game this season. -Brandon Smith joined Lewis as another player going from the practice squad to the active roster. The CB was active over Rogers and Brandon Burton because of his special teams ability. -Stephon Gilmore and Jairus Byrd made their debuts but neither started. Byrd did play extensively but Gilmore was very limited. Aaron Williams played corner again. -Brian Moorman got a huge ovation from the crowd in his return to the Bills when he came out of the tunnel before the game. - The Bills won the toss and deferred like they usually do. I never agreed with it more than I did in this game. Put the strength of the team on the field first, the Defense. They gave up a field goal. - Lewis's first pass was a 47 yard bomb to T.J. Graham, it was the longest pass play of the season for the Bills. - The Bengals showed no respect for the Bills defense by going for it on 4th and 15 late in the third quarter. They were right as Dalton connected with Dane Sanzenbacher for 23 yards.
Key Matchup Results:
The winners of the battles highlighted in our preview article: RB C.J. Spiller vs. LB Vontaze Burfict: Winner: Burfict. Spiller was hobbled throughout and ran for 55 yards on just 10 carries. The running game had its moments but wasn't explosive enough. C Eric Wood vs. DT Geno Atkins: Winner: Atkins. The Bills struggled mightily on third and short running plays as the Bengals won the battle of the line of scrimmage. DE Mario Williams vs. OT Andrew Whitworth: Winner: Whitworth. Williams was barely visible despite getting a half of a sack. DB Stephon Gilmore vs. WR A.J. Green: Winner: Green. Gilmore didn't have him much but McKelvin had little success against him as well.
Keys To The Game Results:
How the keys highlighted in our preview article turned out: 1. Get Running Game Going: Failure! They had some success in the first half but the defense didn't give them much of a chance to stick with the ground game. 2. Great Defensive Effort: Failure! The first half was downright awful. They played better down the stretch but the damage was done. 3. Keep Fans Interested: Success! The offense made enough plays to force overtime and keep the fans in it until the bitter end.
There is one thing you have to say about this team, they play exciting football games. Early in the fourth quarter I was prepared to write a much different story but they showed tremendous character in coming back and tying the game. They just didn't have enough to pull it out once they got there. They hung in there without their prize rookie QB, with their star RB hobbled, and best WR sidelined. They gave a huge scare to a pretty good football team. The defense played very well once they woke up but they did not show up until late in the third quarter and it is a shame because we could be talking about a coming out party for Lewis. Of course in true Bills fashion, he was in a walking boot after the game. One step forward, two steps back.
The Bills continue with a tough stretch of games as they head to Florida for the first of three trips to the sunshine state this year as they take on division rival Miami. They will be well rested as they are coming off of a bye this week.
Thad Lewis - Threw two touchdown passes and ran in a third.
Kyle Williams - Had two big penalties and got little pressure.
Leodis McKelvin - He was beaten for two touchdowns.
Fred Jackson - Stopped three times in a row on the goal line and had just 35 yards on 10 carries.
Mike Pettine - His defense was being counted on to carry the day but really let them down until the final quarter.
Player Of The Week
Thad Lewis - He showed great poise and leadership while gutting out a leg injury to almost single handedly climb his team back into the game.