NFL Nation: 2013 Week 6 CIN at BUF Rapid Reaction

Rapid Reaction: Cincinnati Bengals

October, 13, 2013
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- A few thoughts on the Cincinnati Bengals' 27-24 overtime win over the Buffalo Bills:

What it means: With their overtime win over the Bills, the Bengals have put together back-to-back wins for only the second time this season. While they failed to completely shut down the Bills after holding a 14-point fourth-quarter lead, they did earn yet another dramatic victory when Mike Nugent drilled a 43-yard game-winning field goal. It was Nugent's second game-winning field goal from 43 yards against the Bills.

Stock watch: Bengals' passing game. Two weeks ago, the word "atrocious" might have been the most accurate way to describe the Bengals' passing woes in a 17-6 loss to Cleveland. The effort made some in the fan base call for offensive coordinator Jay Gruden to lose his job and for quarterback Andy Dalton to be replaced. Since then, though, the masses have tamed a bit. Cincinnati has showcased a more balanced scheme the past two games that features a re-emerging passing attack. After throwing for 212 yards and completing 73 percent of his passes against New England last week, Dalton threw for 337 yards and completed 65 percent of his throws Sunday. He added three touchdowns and an interception. Many of his early passes were the short screens that his athletic receivers and running backs turned into long gains. A.J. Green, Giovani Bernard and Marvin Jones all had receptions longer than 40 yards.

Flag magnet? Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict seemed to be targeted by officials, drawing three 15-yard penalties from the crew headed by Ed Hochuli. Each came in the first half. He was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after coming in late on a tackle to stop a run by Bills quarterback Thad Lewis, drew a personal foul on a tackle attempt on Bills receiver T.J. Graham, and was charged with a face mask penalty at the end of another tackle. The unsportsmanlike call put the Bills inside the 10. Two plays later, they scored. Burfict has now been penalized six times this season. His only other 15-yard penalty came three weeks ago, when he drew an unnecessary roughness call against the Packers. It's a tough balance Burfict has to walk, though. He can't calm his play too much. After all, he is Cincinnati's leading tackler and is around most every play.

What's next: Cincinnati's October road tour continues next Sunday when it travels to Detroit. The Bengals (4-2) are in the middle of a month that will see them play four out of six games on the road. They lead the all-time series against the Lions 7-3.

Rapid Reaction: Buffalo Bills

October, 13, 2013

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- A few thoughts on the Buffalo Bills' 27-24 overtime loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

What it means: The Bills couldn't overcome a rocky start by their defense, which allowed 284 yards in the first half. Buffalo got a solid performance from Thad Lewis, starting in place of an injured EJ Manuel, but the offense sputtered in overtime. The Bengals won the field position battle in the extra frame, winning the game on a 43-yard Mike Nugent field goal. Another tough home loss for the Bills, who dropped a similar game in Week 1 to the New England Patriots.

Lewis proves capable: Lewis, making his second career start, wasn't spectacular against a stout Bengals defense, but more than proved he should keep the job going forward. Lewis' first pass was a 47-yard completion, the Bills' longest offensive play this season, and he capped the opening drive with a 3-yard touchdown run. Lewis finished 19-of-32 for 216 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, better than most of Manuel's performances this season. On the negative end, Lewis fumbled on a third-quarter scramble, which the Bengals turned into a touchdown.

Stock watch: Rising -- the punt unit (in regulation). The Bills swapped out second-year punter Shawn Powell for veteran Brian Moorman last week, a move that shored up a reeling punt unit. Moorman averaged 47 net yards on his four punts in regulation, two of which were downed inside the Bengals' 5-yard line. The longtime Bills punter received loud cheers when he stepped onto the field. However, Moorman's 51-yard fourth-quarter punt, with the Bills backed up against their end zone, was returned 29 yards by Brandon Tate, setting up the game-winning field goal.

Gilmore, Byrd quiet in returns: The Bills had two of their top defenders back, but neither made an impact in the game. Cornerback Stephon Gilmore played with a large club covering his injured left hand and struggled at times tackling. He rotated at cornerback with Aaron Williams. Meanwhile, safety Jairus Byrd was limited in his first game this season. Byrd served as the third safety behind Da'Norris Searcy and Jim Leonhard, who came away with the Bills' only interception of the game.

What's next: The Bills fall to 2-4 as they prepare for back-to-back road trips to face the Miami Dolphins and New Orleans Saints to close out the first half of their season. After Sunday, the Bills will play just three more times at Ralph Wilson Stadium this season, and only twice before Dec. 22.