Bills hold off Bengals, 16-12

November 20, 2016
The Buffalo Bills need to go at least 6-1 over their final seven games in order to have their best chance to make the NFL postseason for the first time in 16 seasons. Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Bengals, needed a win to stay afloat in a weak AFC North division. 

The Bills did just enough in order to hold off the Bengals to improve to 5-5 on the season after a 16-12 win from Paul Brown Stadium.

Injuries were a theme for this game with several big names from both teams leaving the game early.

The Bengals lost wide receiver A.J. Green on the second play of the game with a hamstring injury. Green was carted off to the locker room after being tackled by Bills cornerback, Stepohon Gilmore. The Bengals ended up going three-and-out on the opening drive which resulted in a punt.

The Bills marched down the field on their opening drive and scored on a seven-yard touchdown run from running back LeSean McCoy. The drive included some big plays from McCoy and fellow running back Reggie Bush. 

The Bengals responded with a touchdown drive of their own on a lenghty 13-play drive. Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton finished the drive with a well-executed zone read option for a two-yard touchdown run. The Bengals failed to convert their extra-point attempt as kicker Mike Nugent hits the right upright.

The Bills lost wide receiver Robert Woods on the second offensive drive with a knee injury. Woods was tackled awkwardly after catching what should have been an intercepted pass from quarterback Tyrod Taylor. The Bills wound up punting on the drive. 

The Bengals started to show signs of changing their offensive game plan without their deep threat in Green. However, Dalton was intercepted by Gilmore after an attempted hitch route in the direction of Bengals wideout, Brandon LaFell. Gilmore took the interception all the way to the Cincinnati three-yard line, setting the Bills up for a prime opportunity to score a touchdown.

However, the Bills went five yards in the wrong direction in their visit to the red zone. But kicker Dan Carpenter put three points on the board with a 26-yard field goal for a 10-6 Bills lead. 

Bengals rookie wide receiver Tyler Boyd and tight end Tyler Eifert became integral parts of Cincinnati's offense going forward in the game, as the Bengals went to a short passing attack. Boyd capped off the next drive with his first career touchdown and gave Cincinnati their first lead of the game. Nugent cost his team another extra-point as he hit the right upright again on his next PAT.

Buffalo suffered another key injury in the second quarter as McCoy dislocated his thumb and did not return. McCoy will have surgery on the thumb, but it is not expected that he will miss any time.

With time running down in the second quarter. Taylor tried to connect with wideout Marquise Goodwin in the end zone. However, Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick jumped the route and picked off the pass at the Cincinnati 1-yard line. 

The Bengals took the ball down the field with less than a minute to go in the half, but a tipped pass intended for Eifert is picked off by Gilmore for the second time in the game. The half ended with the Bengals leading the Bills, 12-10. 

Buffalo took the opening drive of the second half down the field after a nice return by Brandon Tate. The Bills were held to a field goal after Carpenter hits from 54-yards out. This kick was Carpenter's first from over 50 yards on the season, and it gave the Bills a 13-12 lead. 

After trading punts, the Bengals went three-and-out after getting the football at the Buffalo 39-yard line. The Bills followed the Cincinnati punt with a 20-yard Carpenter field goal to extend the Bills lead to 16-12. 

The two teams stalled out offensively, with three punts per team on the next six drives.

The Bengals had one final chance to re-take the lead with 2:30 to go in the game. Dalton drove the Bengals down field to the Bills' 27-yard line with three seconds to go in the game. One last Hail Mary attempt from the Bengals failed, and the Bills held on to win, 16-12.

The Bills will next face the Jacksonville Jaguars next Sunday at New Era Field. The Jaguars (2-8) most recently fell to the Detroit Lions 26-19 in Detroit.

Kickoff on Sunday is at 1 p.m. with coverage on WGR beginning at 7 a.m.

1st Quarter:
7-0 Buffalo - Bills touchdown (8:52)

  • LeSean McCoy runs in from 7 yards out to open the scoring. Carpenter's PAT makes it 7-0
Drive info: 8 plays, 75 yards, 4:23

7-6 Buffalo - Bengals touchdown (2:34)
  • Quarterback Andy Dalton uses the zone read to get the Bengals in the end zone. Mike Nugent misses the PAT. 
Drive info: 13 plays, 75 yards, 6:18

2nd Quarter:

7-6 Buffalo - Bills interception (11:18)

  • Stephon Gilmore comes up with an interception and takes it to the Bengals' 3-yard line. 

10-6 Buffalo - Bills field goal (9:06)

  • Carpenter is successful on a 26-yard field goal attempt
Drive info: 4 plays, minus-5 yards, 2:05

12-10 Cincinnati - Bengals touchdown (4:29)
  • Cincy wide receiver Tyler Boyd helped move the chains all drive, and he's rewarded with his first career touchdown. However, Nugent missed his second PAT. 
Drive info: 13 plays, 66 yards, 5:53

12-10 Cincinnati - Bengals interception (0:55)
  • Taylor's pass to Marquise Goodwin is picked off by Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick at the Bengals' 1-yard line. 

12-10 Cincinnati - Bills interception (0:12)
  • Gilmore picks off the deflected pass intended for Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert to end the half's scoring. 

3rd Quarter:

13-12 Buffalo - Bills field goal (10:30)

  • Carpenter converts his first field goal from over 50 this season, with a 54-yarder to give Buffalo the lead.

Drive info: 8 plays, 32 yards, 4:35

4th Quarter:

16-12 Buffalo - Bills field goal (12:08)

  • Carpenter is successful on a 20-yard field goal attempt as the Bills long drive stalls out at the Cincinnati 2-yard line.

Drive info: 15 plays, 88 yards, 8:12

Individual Stats:

Tyrod Taylor - 19/27, 166 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT

Andy Dalton - 24/43, 207 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT

Mike Gillislee - 14 carries, 72 yards
Tyrod Taylor - 9 carries, 39 yards, 1 TD
LeSean McCoy - 5 carries, 33 yards, 1 TD
Jonathan Williams - 4 carries, 26 yards
Percy Harvin - 1 carry, 11 yards
Jerome Felton - 1 carry, 2 yards

Jeremy Hill - 16 carries, 62 yards
Giovani Bernard - 7 carries, 21 yards
Andy Dalton - 4 carries, 10 yards, 1 TD

Brandon Tate - 2 receptions, 48 yards
Robert Woods - 3 receptions, 41 yards
Charles Clay - 3 receptions, 9 yards
Reggie Bush - 2 receptions, 21 yards
Marquise Goodwin - 2 receptions, 15 yards
LeSean McCoy - 2 receptions, 12 yards
Percy Harvin - 2 receptions, 6 yards
Jonathan Williams - 1 reception, 0 yards

Tyler Boyd - 6 receptions, 54 yards, 1 TD
Giovani Bernard - 5 receptions, 40 yards
Tyler Eifert - 3 receptions, 37 yards
Brandon LaFell - 4 receptions, 32 yards
James Wright - 2 receptions, 22 yards
Rex Burkhead - 1 reception, 14 yards
Alex Erickson - 1 reception, 7 yards
Jeremy Hill - 2 receptions, 1 yard

Team Stats:
Total Yards:

BUF - 342
CIN - 300

Passing Yards:
BUF - 159
CIN - 207

Rushing Yards:
BUF - 183
CIN - 93

BUF - 9 for 75 yards
CIN - 4 for 25 yards

Time of Possession:
BUF - 32:11
CIN - 27:49