The Buffalo Bills , who came back from 18 points and 21 points in their two previous games, fell to the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 ater leading by 14 points in the secnd quarter. The Bills, who are now 3-1 on the season, had defeated the 2-2 Bengals 10 straight times prior to Sunday.
1. Middle linebacker Rey Maulauga, Cincinnati- 11 tackles, 3 solo tackles including one for loss.
Maulauga, who leads the Bengals in tackles, had an outstanding day hauling down Buffalo’s running backs nine times. Maulauga and the Bengals held Buffalo to 83 yards on 21 carries.
2. Wide Receiver A.J. Green, Cincinnati- 4 receptions for 118 yard and 1 TD
Quarterback Andy Dalton targeted the six-foot-four Green 10 times completing four of those passes for an average of 29.5 yards per catch. Green’s receptions netted 9, 11, 40 and 58 yards.
3. Tight End Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati- 4 receptions for 70 yards, 1 TD, 17.5 yards per catch
Gresham, who was targeted seven times, made a spectacular one-handed touchdown grab to cut the Bills lead to 17-13 in the fourth quarter.
4. Special teams, Cincinnati
The Bengals special teams were fantastic in all phases. Kicker Mike Nugent, who hit the game-winning 43-yard field goal with no time remaining, made all three of his field goal attempts to contribute 11 points. In addition, only one of Nugent’s five kickoffs were returnable.
Though punter Kevin Huber didn’t average a lot of yards on his five punts (38.5 yards) he did his job by keeping the Bills backed-up in their own territory. Two of Huber’s punts were downed inside the 20-yard line.
While the Bills managed only return 23 yards, the Bengals totaled 135 yards on 10 kick returns. Brandon Tate tallied 66 yards on three punt return and returned seven kickoffs for 69 yards.
5. Offensive Line- Cincinnati
The Bengals massive offensive line consistently opened up holes for Bengals running backs particularly in the second half. Cincinnati, who averaged 5.3 yards per carry, totaled 171 yards on 31 carries. The o-line also allowed just four negative plays and two sacks. In addition, the Bengals were not flagged for any penalties.
6. Cornerback Leon Hall, Cincinnati- 7 tackles, six solo tackles
Hall, who is the Bengals top corner, held the Bills top receiver Stevie Johnson to four receptions for 56 yards. Buffalo, who came into the game with one of the NFL’s top passing attacks, threw for just 199 yards. Hall kept Johnson out of the end zone for the first time this season.
7. Strong Safety George Wilson, Buffalo- 12 tackles, 8 solo, 1 interception and a pass defensed
Wilson, who had a big game, led the Bills in tackles.
8. Inside Linebacker Nick Barnett, Buffalo- 10 tackles, 5 solo tackles
Barnett is the Bills top tackler on the season. Barnett, who is mainly a run stopper, is agile enough to cover tight ends and running backs.
9. WR Stevie Johnson, Buffalo-4 receptions for 58 yards with a long of 44 yards long
Johnson, who was targeted by Ryan Fitzpatrick six times, was relatively quite though he did have a 44-yard reception.
10. RB Cedric Benson, Cincinnati 19 carries for 104 yards.
Benson, who averaged 5.5 yards per carry, came on strong in the second totaling of his yards.