Bills fans put through the wringer

Josh Allen leads another game-winning touchdown drive late to beat the Bengals

Howard Simon
September 22, 2019 - 6:51 pm

Photo: Rich Barnes - USA TODAY Sports

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Now that was stressful.

I coasted through the first two Buffalo Bills games of the season, but they made up for it against the Cincinnati Bengals by fitting three weeks worth of stress into the second half.

I’m sure all of you felt the Bills should have blown this game open by halftime. They dominated the first half, but the Bills offense was its own worst enemy and it kept the Bengals in the game.

That theme continued in the second half, and then the Bengals offense came to life just enough for them to take a 17-14 lead with 4:54 left in the fourth quarter.

After a third quarter that saw Josh Allen complete two of six passes for three yards and an interception, the second-year quarterback came through in the clutch. Allen led a seven-play, 78-yard touchdown drive where he accounted for all but two of those yards. The key play was a pass to rookie tight end Dawson Knox, who was wide open down field. Knox then proceeded to break one tackle and then bowl over another would be tackler as part of a 49-yard gain to the Cincinnati 22-yard line. Allen would run on the next two plays, the second of which was a Herculean effort on his part. Allen broke out of, what appeared to be, a sack and picked up eight big yards on the play.

Allen called his own number again two plays later and carried the ball to the Bengals' one-yard line, which then led to Frank Gore's one-yard touchdown run up the gut for the game-winning score.

Allen had the kind of day young quarterbacks have with a mixture of some very good throws, some missed reads and one really bad decision. That bad decision was a pass that should never have been thrown.

While running backwards and under pressure, Allen just heaved the ball downfield instead of throwing it out of bounds. The pass was picked off by cornerback Darius Phillips, and it set the Bengals up at the Bills' 22-yard line. Cincinnati then cashed in with a touchdown for their first points of the game. To Allen’s credit, he came back from that miscue and eventually led the Bills on the game-winning drive.

Allen recorded an eighth straight game of passing for at least 200 yards. He ended with 243 through the air with a touchdown and the pick. He added 46 yards on nine runs. The Bills, again, showed the ability to put together long touchdown drives. All eight of their touchdown drives in the first three games have covered at least 70 yards. The Bills had 14 of those all last season.

He and the offense can thank the defense for doing more than their fair share of work. They absolutely dominated Cincinnati’s offense in the first half, while keeping them off the board. The Bengals managed just 77 yards and two first downs in the first half, and 33 of those yards came on a pass on the final play of the half when the Bills were playing deep to keep everything in front of them.

Bengals wide receiver John Ross III came into the game leading the league in receiving yards. Ross was held to just two catches for 22 yards. The Bills defense came up with four takeaways, including a game-sealing interception from Tre'Davious White. They held the Bengals to just 3-for-11 (27%) on third down in, what was, a third straight strong showing to start the season.

For you special teams fans, Stephen Hauschka appears to be back in "Hausch-Money" form. He connected on a pair of field goals and one extra point. Hauschka is now 3-for-3 on field goals and 7-for-7 on extra points.

Your dream scenario has now played out, Bills fans. A 3-0 start with the New England Patriots coming to New Era Field next week.

It will make a a fun week around Western New York as we wonder whether or not the Bills can beat Tom Brady, in a game where he plays from start to finish, for just the third time in his greatest of all-time career.

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