First-place Bengals struggle with Bills

First-place Bengals struggle with Bills
October 13, 2013, 10:15 pm
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The Bengals took over sole possession of first place in the AFC North with their 27-24, overtime victory over the Bills. And there is something to be said for any road win in the NFL. But there is also something to be said — not a good something — for allowing a game to get to OT when you have a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter and the opposing team’s quarterback was on the practice squad last week.

Thad Lewis directed Buffalo to two last-period touchdowns, tossing scoring passes to receivers wide open in the secondary. So even though the Bengals came through to win on Mike Nugent’s 43-yard field goal in the extra period, there is that concern about the bigger picture — as in, what does this performance mean for a team with big playoff aspirations?

“What happens when January comes, and there isn’t a Thad Lewis in sight?” writes Paul Daugherty of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “And January is the big picture for the Bengals. Anything less than January will be seen as underachieving. …

“Wins do not come with style points attached. A road win needn’t look like a runway model. But for teams with January aspirations, winning pretty matters.”

Still, this is a Bills team that beat the Ravens a couple of weeks ago, though that was when Buffalo had its No. 1 quarterback, EJ Manuel. The Ravens would have been happy to have left Buffalo with an ugly win.