It took Cincinnati Bengals’ Mike Nugent two opportunities to win the game, but he helped the Bengals get their first road victory as the Bengals beat the Buffalo Bills 27-24 in overtime. Nugent originally made a 24-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter in what would be the difference in regulation, but Bengals’ Alex Smith was charged with a holding penalty and Nugent would miss wide right on the 34-yard attempt that followed. Buffalo would then go on a 14-0 run as backup quarterback Thad Lewis threw two touchdown passes to tie the game up 24-24 to take it into OT.
After the first half, it looked like the Bengals were going to run away with the game.
The Bengals’ offense had its most productive first half since the season opener against the Chicago Bears and had three scoring drives out of five, and one of those drives was used to run out the clock before the half.Aside from the last drive, the Bengals ran 15 run plays and 14 pass plays, gaining 177 yards in the air and 107 on the ground with two passing touchdowns.
Andy Dalton and AJ Green squandered any doubts about being out of synch with Green gaining 80 yards on three catches with a long of 54 yards, and one touchdown reception. Green would finish the game with six catches, 103 yards and one touchdown. It was Green’s first game with 100 yards receiving since the Week 1 loss to the Bears.
After Green’s 54-yard catch, Giovani Bernard caught a Dalton shovel pass and churned out a 20-yard touchdown on an exceptional run-after-catch where he diplayed his elusivness in open field by juking two defenders before reaching the endzone.
The 98-yard touchdown drive was the longest of the season for the Bengals and was the fifth time they scored on plays 90 yards or more and put the Bengals up 17-7 late in the second quarter.
The Bengals offense came out in the second half keeping the ball away from the Bills’ offense controlling the ball in the third quarter for nearly eight minutes.
The offense was able to keep the ball for a majority of the third quarter thanks to strong play by the defense and Carlos Dunlap who knocked the ball away from Thad Lewis on Buffalo’s opening drive at the Bengals’ 47-yard line. Vontaze Burfict recovered the ball and Cincinnati took over with a short field.
Dalton didn’t disappoint by going 3 of 5 for 24 yards on a drive that culminated in a Dalton 10-yard bullet to Marvin Jones to put the Bengals up 24-10. The Bengals received help during the series from Buffalo’s defensive tackle Kyle Williams who was penalized 15 yards for a rare taunting penalty.
After the touchdown drive, it turned into a defensive game. The Bengals would only give up 11 yards on the next two drives thanks to a Wallace Gilberry sack that netted Buffalo -8 yards on the drive following Cincinnati’s touchdown.
Gilberry, who is quietly having a very good year, now has 3.5 sacks, and has stepped up nicely for Michael Johnson who had limited time in today’s game since being diagnosed with a concussion following the Bengals loss to Cleveland in Week 4.
The tables would turn after that.
Buffalo would turn what was becoming a Bengals romping into a Buffalo comback in the fourth quarter when Thad Lewis connected with TE Scott Chandler early in the quarter on a 22-yard touchdown pass that was the result of miscommunication between Bengals’ defenders Adam Jones and George Iloka. The touchdown pass was only Lewis’ second in his two-year career and first since his Dec. 30 start against the Pittsburgh Steelers while he was with Cleveland.
Lewis would lead Buffalo to a game-tying touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter as he went 4 of 6 for 76 yards that culminated in a 40-yard touchdown pass to Marquise Goodwin. The catch was Goodwins’ second on the day and was his first touchdown reception in the NFL.
The touchdown made Lewis 19 of 31 for for 216 yards, with two touchdowns and zero interceptions during regulation. He would finish the game 19 of 32, for 216 yards and two touchdowns.
Buffalo would force a punt by the Bengals with 15 seconds left in regulation before running out the clock on a Lewis quarterback kneel.
After exchanging punts to open up overtime, the Bengals would benefit from a Brandon Tate 29-yard punt return that put the ball at Buffalo’s 33-yard line. The new rules for NFL overtime allows both teams the opportunity to score unless the team that starts out with the ball scores a touchdown. Since neither team scored on their opening drive, all the Bengals would need is a field goal for the win.
After BenJarvus Green-Ellis – who ran for 86 yards on 16 carries - gained a hard five yards, Bernard got the ball to the 25-yard line before Nugent kicked the game-winning field goal.