Final

Bills 20

(3-1, 1-1 away)

Bengals 23

(2-2, 1-1 home)

Coverage: CBS

1:00 PM ET, October 2, 2011

Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH 

1 2 3 4 T
BUF 0 17 0 320
CIN 3 0 10 1023

Top Performers

Passing: A. Dalton (CIN) - 298 YDS, 1 TD, 2 INT

Rushing: C. Benson (CIN) - 19 CAR, 104 YDS

Receiving: A. Green (CIN) - 4 REC, 118 YDS

Bills drop 1st game as Andy Dalton directs Bengals to last-second win

Associated Press

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.

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.

"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.

Game 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.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
BUF
CIN
1st Downs1225
Passing 1st downs
612
Rushing 1st downs
612
1st downs from penalties
01
3rd down efficiency
4-145-12
4th down efficiency
0-00-0
Total Plays5670
Total Yards273458
Yards per play4.96.5
Total Drives1114
Passing190287
Comp-Att
20-3418-36
Yards per pass
5.47.6
Interceptions thrown
02
Sacks-Yards Lost
1-92-11
Rushing83171
Rushing Attempts
2132
Yards per rush
4.05.3
Red Zone (Made-Att)1-22-4
Penalties4-263-15
Turnovers02
Fumbles lost
00
Interceptions thrown
02
Defensive / Special Teams TDs10
Possession28:3931:21

Passing Leaders

BUFC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Fitzpatrick20/341995.9001-9
CINC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Dalton18/362988.3122-11

Rushing Leaders

BUFCARYDSAVGTDLG
Jackson17663.9121
Spiller3124.009
CINCARYDSAVGTDLG
Benson191045.5028
Leonard4369.0014

Receiving Leaders

BUFRECYDSAVGTDLG
Johnson45814.5044
Jackson5326.409
CINRECYDSAVGTDLG
Green411829.5058
Gresham47017.5125

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERBUFCIN
cinFG2:06Mike Nugent 31 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 9 plays, 34 yds, 5:04
03
SECOND QUARTERBUFCIN
bufFG13:37Rian Lindell 43 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 9 plays, 56 yds, 3:29
33
bufTD3:20Bryan Scott 43 Yard Interception Return (Rian Lindell Kick is Good)
Drive info: 1 plays, 43 yds, 0:09
103
bufTD0:44Fred Jackson 2 Yard Run (Rian Lindell Kick is Good)
Drive info: 5 plays, 76 yds, 1:33
173
THIRD QUARTERBUFCIN
cinFG11:27Mike Nugent 21 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 7 plays, 78 yds, 3:37
176
cinTD5:33Jermaine Gresham 17 Yard Pass From Andy Dalton (Mike Nugent Kick is Good)
Drive info: 7 plays, 72 yds, 3:55
1713
FOURTH QUARTERBUFCIN
bufFG11:26Rian Lindell 23 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 17 plays, 75 yds, 9:04
2013
cinTD4:14Andy Dalton 3 Yard Run (Mike Nugent Kick is Good)
Drive info: 10 plays, 80 yds, 4:19
2020
cinFG0:04Mike Nugent 43 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 7 plays, 56 yds, 1:48
2023

Research Notes

BillsThe Bills struggled offensively Sunday, including six 3-and-outs. Entering Week 4, the Bills went 3-and-out on only seven of their 36 drives this season.

  [+]
NEXT LEVEL: The Bengals overcame a 14-point deficit Sunday by gaining control of the line of scrimmage. In the first half, the Bills' defensive pursuit limited Bengal runners to only 1.6 yards before contact per carry. The Bengal offensive line was able to open up holes in the second half, helping Bengal runners average 5.4 yards per carry before making contact with a defender in the game's final two quarters.

ESPN Stats & Information