The Cincinnati Bengals continue to roll, knocking off their AFC rival Buffalo Bills, 24-18, on Sunday night at Paycor Stadium.
The last time these two teams met was on a tragic Monday night in January when Bills safety Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest. As you might expect, it was an emotional return for the No. 3, who was inactive for this game.
Once the ball was snapped and the reflection became a focus for everyone on the field, the Bengals quickly went to work. Joe Barrow was ice cold on the team’s first drive of the game, going 6-for-6 through the air and eventually finding Irv Smith Jr. for a seven-yard touchdown.
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This game quickly became a shootout when the Bills took their first drive. Josh Allen found the end zone with his feet instead of his arm after driving 85 yards to match the Bengals.
But Barrow was quick to find the end zone again, this time using his trusted running back Joe Mixon on third-and-goal to retake the lead.
That’s when both offenses started to lag a bit. Four total punts with Allen fumbles resulted in no points for either team until Burrow had top position at the Buffalo 45-yard line after the Bills were forced to punt deep in their own zone.
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What appeared to be a broken play on third-and-7 from Buffalo’s 22-yard line led to a 22-yard touchdown run by Drew Samble to put the home team up 14-7 before halftime.
The second half wasn’t as eventful for either team as the defense hit both ways. The Bengals got a key stop in their own zone to force a field goal to start the third quarter, making it a 21-10 game.
Then, after turning the ball over on downs, the Bengals defense opened up the offense by forcing a fumble on Bills tight end Dalton Kincaid. He went airborne on first-and-10 from Cincinnati’s 22-yard line, and before he could land, the ball was knocked out of his hands and recovered by the Bengals. That eventually led to an Evan McPherson field goal to push the lead to 24-10.
But, as Buffalo has done in the past, they’re never going to let up when Allen has the ball and there’s time on the clock.
The Bills ran out 4:36 of the clock in the fourth quarter to finally find star Stefon Diggs in the end zone on a 17-yard touchdown run by Allen.
However, the Bills defense couldn’t get the ball back in their hands. Barrow and his crew killed off the final 2:54 left in the fourth quarter, getting key first downs to seal the win and four straight to go up 5-3. The Bills have the same record now.
Burrow had a fantastic game through the air, collecting 348 yards and two touchdowns on 31-of-44 shooting. His leading receiver wasn’t Ja’Marr Chase, who had four catches for 41 yards, but rather Tee Higgins. He hauled in eight of his nine targets for 110 yards.
For the Bills, Diggs led the way with 86 yards on six catches and Kincaid finished with 10 catches for 81 yards.
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The Bengals will look to push that streak to five games next Sunday when they host the Houston Texans. Meanwhile, the Bills will be back in primetime next week at home against the Denver Broncos.