ORCHARD PARK — The Cincinnati Bengals took advantage of great field position, as well as several Bill’s penalties in order to capture a 34-21 win over Buffalo Sunday afternoon in Orchard Park.
Andy Dalton finished the game 22-of-33 passing for 243 yards and three touchdowns. He was barely pressured by the Bills defensive unit, and as a result, he was able to spend all afternoon carefully progressing through his reads.
“We were able to do a good job and incorporate the entire offensive unit. We did a good job keeping the quarterback upright and (Dalton) did a great job passing. Those are the kind of things we need to keep up. We always rely on those guys in those times,” said Bengals coach Marvin Lewis.
“I mean (Rex Ryan) is known for all of the different looks that he gives you and he gave us some looks but when we had the chances to make good plays we did,” said Andy Dalton. “They played a lot more two high coverage than what they’ve shown in the past. I think that just shows what kind of guys we have on the outside.”
In the first half, Dalton led the Bengals on three consecutive scoring drives. In the first, he found Jeremy Hill in the flat for a 13-yard pass after Hill dove over Stephon Gilmore to find the goal line.
Then, following a four-play drive, Giovani Bernard found ran untouched into the end zone, giving the Bengals a 14-7 lead.
Finally, a four play drive resulted in a Mike Nugent 47-yard field giving the Bengals a 17-7 lead.
The Bills offense struggled without Tyrod Taylor, but EJ Manuel was able to orchestrate a few successful drives in the early going. The Bills opened up the game with an 11 play, 80-yard touchdown drive that was capped off by a QB sweep and a two-yard TD run by Manuel.
Then just before the half ended, Manuel ran the two-minute drill well enough to find Sammy Watkins wide open in the end zone for a 22-yard touchdown. But the play was costly for the Bills, as Sammy Watkins injured his left ankle on the play and would not return.
“We have had some great opening drives and then for some reason it doesn’t look like we can get a first down. Like it just — I don’t understand. Obviously it comes down to execution and things. But I wish I could tell you,” said Ryan.
At halftime, the Bengals held just a 17-14 lead. But Andy Dalton proved in the second half why he has been an MVP candidate through the first six games.
Dalton marched the Bengals down the field to open the third quarter, and he finally connected with Marvin Jones for a 10-yard score. Jones made a great individual effort to essentially flip into the end zone.
The Bengals would score again on their next drive after Dalton found Tyler Eifert for a four-yard touchdown. That play capped off an 12 play, 78-yard drive and would give the Bengals a 31-14 lead after just three quarters.
“We spread the ball around a lot. A lot of different guys are getting the ball and like I’ve said throughout the time you never know who is going to have the big week,” said Dalton.
The fourth quarter was a mere formality, but LeSean McCoy did score his first touchdown as a member of the Buffalo Bills. McCoy, who also reached 7,000 career rushing yards Sunday, finished the game with 17 carries for 90 yards and a touchdown in his return from a hamstring injury.
The loss drops the Bills to 3-3 overall, and they will now begin preparations for next week’s London adventure against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“It’s like we never have our whole group together. You know, there’s one person out, two people out. And every time we kind of get back together, another injury happens. Or we get moving and driving, and penalty. So we’ve got the talent there, man, we got the right play calling, we just — it’s a matter of just doing it,” said LeSean McCoy.