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Buffalo at Cincinnati

Bengals win on last-second FG, hand Bills first loss

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

CINCINNATI -- The Bills' stretch of amazing comebacks ended when they couldn't stop a rookie quarterback from pulling off one of his own.

Andy Dalton shook off a horrid first half and led his first game-winning drive in the NFL on Sunday.

Mike Nugent's 43-yard field goal as time ran out gave the Cincinnati Bengals a 23-20 victory over the previously unbeaten Bills in front of the smallest crowd in Paul Brown Stadium's history.

"I think we needed it a lot, especially at home," Nugent said. "We've got to do a better job of putting fans in the stands."

Many of the 41,142 fans had left when Dalton ran 3 yards for a tying touchdown with 4:09 to go. He got Cincinnati (2-2) in position to pull it out by scrambling for a pivotal first down on the winning drive, helped by a replay overturn that went in his favor.

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The youngster's strong finish ended Cincinnati's streak of 10 straight losses against Buffalo (3-1) since the 1988 AFC championship game.

"He's a young quarterback," said rookie receiver A.J. Green, who had four catches for 118 yards. "It's all about how you finish. The great ones finish, and he's going to be a great one."

The Bills arrived as the AFC's last perfect team after pulling off historic comebacks, rallying from deficits of 18 against Oakland and 21 points against New England in the past two games. No team in NFL history had such back-to-back comebacks.

This time, it came down to holding a lead. They couldn't do it.

"I don't know if it had anything to do with all the emotion from last week's game," quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said. "It had more to do with us flat-out not showing up in the second half."

Buffalo went up 17-3 during Dalton's poor first half. The second-round draft pick was only 7 of 20 for 116 yards with two sacks and an interception that safety Bryan Scott returned 43 yards for a touchdown. His passer rating was a minuscule 15.8 in the opening half.

The rough time didn't leave him down.

CBSSports.com Grades
Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills
C-
After pulling out thrillers each of the last two weeks at home over Oakland and New England, the Bills had the tables turned on them, blowing a 17-3 halftime lead. Other than one long scoring drive, Buffalo struggled offensively in the second half. The defense allowed the Bengals to go 56 yards in 1:48 to set up Mike Nugent's game-winner.
By Joe Jacobs
RapidReports Correspondent
Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals
B
The Bengals' defense limited Buffalo's offense to one TD, while the Cincinnati offense shook off six quarters of ineffectiveness to score two TDs in the second half. Rookie QB Andy Dalton looked like a rookie in the first half before a refreshed running attack helped him regain some of the poise he showed in his first two games.
By Mark Schmetzer
RapidReports Correspondent

"I've been through a lot," Dalton said. "You can't get too high, you can't get too low. If you're too high, it can hurt you. If you're too low, it can hurt you. I try to stay even-keel."

The rookie finally got going with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Gresham, the Bengals' first touchdown in seven quarters. He went 3 yards on the quarterback draw to tie it, then scrambled to set up the winning kick the next time Cincinnati got the ball.

On third-and-3 from the Cincinnati 43, he scrambled away from the rush and dived out of bounds, stretching the ball as far ahead as he could.

It was marked a few inches short of the first down. After a review, the ball was moved about a foot forward, giving the Bengals a first down with 45 seconds left.

Brian Leonard caught a 15-yard pass and ran 14 yards to the Buffalo 25, setting up the winning kick. Nugent, coming off knee surgery last year, is perfect in 10 field goal chances.

Dalton finished 18 of 36 for 298 yards. Cedric Benson ran 19 times for 104 yards, taking some of the pressure off the quarterback.

Coming off an emotional win over New England, the Bills were flat on offense and never got moving. They'd scored at least 30 points in each of the first three games, but managed only Scott's touchdown return, Fred Jackson's 2-yard run and a pair of field goals.

"It's the worst way to lose it," Jackson said. "We had an opportunity to put away the game, but we didn't make the plays when we had to."

Last year, the Bills came to Paul Brown Stadium and pulled off a comeback that got them going, rallying behind Fitzpatrick for a 49-31 win after trailing 31-14 at halftime.

Fitzpatrick couldn't make a big play in the second half on Sunday, finishing 20 of 34 for 199 yards.

Notes

  • Buffalo's Chad Rinehart started at right guard in place of Kraig Urbik, who had been listed as doubtful because of a knee injury. Drayton Florence replaced cornerback Terrence McGee, out with a hamstring injury.
  • Fitzpatrick moved past 8,000 yards passing for his career.
  • The Bills have returned interceptions for TDs in back-to-back game for the first time since 2009.
  • WR Jerome Simpson was back in the Bengals starting lineup. He's been under investigation for a marijuana shipment to his house. He had three catches for 26 yards.
 
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Sun. Oct. 2Final
Buffalo
(3-1)
0170320
30101023
BillsBengals
Pass: R. Fitzpatrick (20-34, 199) A. Dalton (18-36, 298)
Rush: F. Jackson (17-66) C. Benson (19-104)
Rec: S. Johnson (4-58) A. Green (4-118)
Scoring Summary
1ST QUARTER
FGMike Nugent, 31 Yd, 2:02. Drive: 9 plays, 34 yards in 5:04.
2ND QUARTER
FGRian Lindell, 43 Yd, 13:33. Drive: 9 plays, 56 yards in 3:29.
TDBryan Scott, 43 Yd interception return (Rian Lindell kick is good), 3:10.
TDFred Jackson, 2 Yd run (Rian Lindell kick is good), 0:40. Drive: 5 plays, 76 yards in 1:33.
3RD QUARTER
FGMike Nugent, 21 Yd, 11:23. Drive: 7 plays, 78 yards in 3:37.
TDJermaine Gresham, 17 Yd pass from Andy Dalton (Mike Nugent kick is good), 5:26. Drive: 7 plays, 72 yards in 3:55.
4TH QUARTER
FGRian Lindell, 23 Yd, 11:22. Drive: 17 plays, 75 yards in 9:04.
TDAndy Dalton, 3 Yd run (Mike Nugent kick is good), 4:09. Drive: 10 plays, 80 yards in 4:19.
FGMike Nugent, 43 Yd, 0:00. Drive: 7 plays, 56 yards in 1:48.
Players of the Game
Cincinnati

A. Dalton
Att 36
Comp 18
Yds 298
TD 1
Buffalo

F. Jackson
Rush 17
Yds 66
Avg 3.9
TD 1
 
Buffalo
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
R. Fitzpatrick20/3419900
RushingATTYDSTDLG
F. Jackson1766121
C. Spiller31209
R. Fitzpatrick1505
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
S. Johnson458044
F. Jackson53209
N. Roosevelt128028
B. Smith225017
D. Jones32109
D. Nelson218012
C. Spiller1909
S. Chandler2806
Cincinnati
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
A. Dalton18/3629812
RushingATTYDSTDLG
C. Benson19104028
B. Leonard436014
B. Scott51307
A. Dalton31216
A. Green1606
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
A. Green4118058
J. Gresham470125
A. Hawkins243025
J. Simpson326017
A. Caldwell21709
B. Leonard115015
B. Scott2905
Complete Player Stats
Other Games
CAR 29 Final
CHI 34
TEN 31 Final
CLE 13
DET 34 Final
DAL 30
PIT 10 Final
HOU 17
NO 23 Final
JAC 10
MIN 17 Final
KC 22
SF 24 Final
PHI 23
WAS 17 Final
STL 10
NYG 31 Final
ARI 27
ATL 30 Final
SEA 28
DEN 23 Final
GB 49
NE 31 Final
OAK 19
MIA 16 Final
SD 26
NYJ 17 Final
BAL 34
IND 17 Final
TB 24