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Commentary: Cincinnati Bengals win despite struggling against the Buffalo Bills

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Green Bay Packers inside linebacker A.J. Hawk (50) is stiff-armed by Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard (25) during the second quarter on Sept. 22 at Paul Brown Stadium. Credit: Courtesy of MCT

Green Bay Packers inside linebacker A.J. Hawk (50) is stiff-armed by Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard (25) during the second quarter on Sept. 22 at Paul Brown Stadium.
Credit: Courtesy of MCT

The Cincinnati Bengals won their first road game of the year Sunday against the Buffalo Bills despite blowing a 14 point lead in the fourth quarter to a team featuring a quarterback making his second career start.

The Bills got three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) from Thad Lewis, who was promoted from the practice squad just last week. His 40 yard touchdown pass with 1:08 remaining in the game tied the score, 24-24.

But the Bengals (4-2) were able to kick a field goal in overtime thanks to a 29 yard punt return by Brandon Tate.

In addition to finally winning away from home, Cincinnati saw quarterback Andy Dalton have his best game of the season (337 yards, three touchdowns, one interception and a 105.9 QB rating).

The oft-maligned signal caller helped the Bengals race to a 24-10 lead by throwing the ball more accurately to star wide receiver A.J. Green and getting running back Giovani Bernard more involved in the passing game (six receptions, 72 yards and one touchdown).

It was a timely performance from the third-year quarterback who seemed to have lost his team’s confidence judging by the Bengals’ game plan against New England a week earlier. Dalton, though, succeeded in part due to a resurgent running game. The game against the Bills marked the second week in a row Cincinnati topped 160 yards on the ground.

Cincinnati’s defense, however, continued to defend the pass poorly away from home.

Despite a defensive front that consistently applies pressure, the secondary has been inconsistent, surrendering untimely touchdowns to lesser quarterbacks.

After giving up a fourth quarter lead to Jay Cutler in Chicago in week one and watching Brian Hoyer dissect them in Cleveland in week four the Bengals saw Lewis throw two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter.

While the season is still young and the Bengals now sit alone atop the AFC North, Cincinnati needs to find a way to hold their own against the pass or watch their playoff hopes slip away.

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