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Buffalo Bills 21, Cincinnati Bengals 17: Rapid recap and notes

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Allen giveth, Allen taketh away, Allen giveth some more.

You can breathe again, Buffalo Bills fans. The Bills scraped victory from the jaws of defeat, retaking the lead with two minutes remaining and killing the Cincinnati Bengals’ comeback attempt with Tre’Davious White’s diving interception. Following the 21-17 victory, the Bills advanced to 3-0 on the season, setting up a showdown between the AFC East’s undefeated next weekend against the New England Patriots.

The first half was as dominant a showing as we’ve seen, with the Bills amassing five times as much yardage as the Bengals and totally owning the time of possession stat. Unfortunately, it didn’t show up on the scoreboard. A possible field goal couldn’t happen after Josh Allen took an intentional grounding penalty, and a T.J. Yeldon fumble in the red zone ended a potential touchdown drive. Allen had a remarkable half, and the defense held Andy Dalton under forty passing yards until the closing seconds. The Bills went into halftime with a 14-0 lead.

As much as I would’ve liked to have the lede for this article sewn up early, I couldn’t do it because the Bengals erased that lead with an excellent second half. Andy Dalton came to life and scored two touchdowns, and Allen threw a classic “hero ball” interception while trying to avoid a sack, and suddenly the outcome was anything but decided. The Bengals took a 17-14 lead for the first time with five minutes left in the game, and every Bills fan’s knuckles turned white.

Luckily, the Bills finally woke up. Allen led a scoring drive, featuring rookie Dawson Knox on a 49-yard catch and run, ending with a one-yard Frank Gore run, and the Bills had a 21-17 lead with just under two minutes remaining.

The Bengals needed a touchdown to win, and started advancing bit-by-bit down the field. They reached midfield with thirty seconds to go, with a timeout remaining, but Dalton threw a pass into a sea of Bills defenders. Micah Hyde tipped it, Tre’Davious White picked it (his second of the day), and that was all, folks.

Injury Notes

  • Right guard Jon Feliciano injured his neck in the first quarter. Cody Ford replaced him in the lineup, and Feliciano did not return.
  • Defensive tackle Harrison Phillips left the game late with an injury. He was seen walking into the x-ray room after the game.
  • Right tackle Ty Nsekhe looked like he might’ve tweaked his knee in the second half, but returned to the game and was fine to finish the day.

Miscellaneous

  • The Bills took their first 8-0 lead (and first 11-0 lead) in franchise history, after scoring a two-point conversion in the first quarter when the Bengals committed a penalty on the extra point.
  • Tre’Davious White Now has three interceptions on the year, and notched his first career multi-interception day.
  • Strong day for rookie Dawson Knox. He caught three passes for 67 yards and a touchdown. The final catch was a 49-yard beast mode run that led to Buffalo’s game-winning drive. He also carried the ball for a nine-yard gain and a first down.
  • Josh Allen nearly had a Mahomes-esque play in the first half. Chased in the pocket, Allen faded back and launched an all-arm throw 30 yards downfield into traffic that bounced off Tommy Sweeney’s chest. If caught, it would’ve been one of the highlights of the year.
  • Speaking of Josh Allen, another fourth-quarter comeback and game-winning drive for him. That gives him four of the former and five of the latter in his young career.
  • This was also Allen’s eighth consecutive game of more than 200 yards passing (he had 243). One more would tie Jim Kelly’s record. He just has to do it against Bill Belichick’s defense.
  • This was a vintage day for Frank Gore, who only had 14 rushing attempts but 76 yards and a touchdown (5.4 YPC).
  • The Bills as a team ran 36 times for 175 yards, pounding the Bengals into submission.
  • They ran with a variety of concepts, too, with six different players toting the rock.
  • Meanwhile, the Bengals did not have a great day of rushing. 19 carries for 67 yards, though they did score a touchdown.
  • Excellent day for Micah Hyde, who forced a fumble in the first half and was the pulse keeping the defense alive in the second half.