Bills Hang On For 16-12 Win
Hail Mary falls incomplete as Bills escape with road win.
by Steve Saslow
Week 11
Bills  16
Bengals  12
Gameday Grades
The Skinny:
Andy Dalton's Hail Mary pass fell incomplete into the end zone on the final play of the game allowing the Bills to escape Cincinnati with a 16-12 win. LeSean McCoy had a seven yard touchdown run on the Bills first possession but left the game with a dislocated thumb. That was the only touchdown for the Bills as they would need three Dan Carpenter field goals, including a 54 yarder, to pull off the win. Stephon Gilmore picked off two passes and returned one to the three yard line in a drive that would stall as the Bills struggled inside the five yard line in this game. Tyrod Taylor had a touchdown run called back by a holding penalty on Richie Incognito. He did not throw a touchdown pass and threw one interception on the goal line. The Bills defense struggled mightily in the first half but was lights out after halftime forcing four straight three and outs before the final drive ran out of time. Andy Dalton ran for a score and threw for another but both extra points were missed by Mike Nugent.

The Turning Point:
The 2nd Gilmore Interception: His first pick set the Bills up for a field goal, his second one stopped Cincinnati from adding to their lead just before halftime. They didn't get close to scoring again until the final play of the game.

The Big Drive:
The 3rd Bills FG: The Bills went 88 yards on 15 plays on a drive that started at their own 10 and ended at the Bengals two yard line and took 8:12 off the clock. The 20 yard field goal by Carpenter gave the Bills the 16-12 lead early in the fourth quarter and that would be the difference in the game. The big play was a 34 yard catch and run by Brandon Tate and a fourth and one run by Mike Gillislee for five yards.

Stat I Did Like:
Rushing Yards: They ran for 183 yards in the game without LeSean McCoy playing for a half.

Stat I Didn't Like:
Penalties: 9 of them for 75 yards. They did much better after halftime.

Scene Setters:
- The Bills wore all white jerseys this week in Cincinnati.
- Despite threatening several lineup changes, Jordan Mills and Ronald Darby remained in the starting lineup. Kevon Seymour did see the majority of the nickel back reps for the first time and James Ihedigbo got the start at safety but Robert Blanton came in during the second play.
- The Bills won the toss and deferred. They have won the toss every game except one this year and have deferred every time they won except once.
- Today's team captains were: Brandon Tate, Preston Brown, Jerel Worthy, Adolphus Washington, and Seantrel Henderson.

Key Matchup Results:
The winners of the battles highlighted in our preview article:
RT Jordan Mills or Seantrel Henderson vs. DE Carlos Dunlap: Winner: Mills and Henderson. The duo did a nice job. Dunlap had a half of sack.
C Ryan Groy or Patrick Lewis vs. DT Geno Atkins: Winner: Groy. He played and played very well. Atkins was barely heard from in this game.
CB Kevon Seymour vs. TE Tyler Eifert: Winner: Seymour. Didn't go up against Eifert much but did a nice job in the slot.
CB Stephon Gilmore vs. WR A.J. Green: Winner: Gilmore. By default since Green left with a hamstring injury after the first play of the game. Gilmore ended up with two interceptions.

Keys To The Game Results:
How the keys highlighted in our preview article turned out:
1. Offensive Communication: Success! They only wasted one timeout and seemed to have no problem getting the right personnel on the field.
2. Win the physical battle: Success! They played a tough, physical game.
3. Run Effectively: Success! They should have run it more because when they did they were successful with a healthy 5.4 yard average.

My Take:
Many Bills fans will hold on to their playoff hopes based on this win and losses by Kansas City and Baltimore. The fact is with the injuries mounting and Taylor still not playing consistently well, this is clearly not a playoff team. They get the win and I'm happy about it but this was an ugly win and it shows how far away they are from seriously competing with the big boys in the AFC.

What's Ahead:
The Bills come home as they will play four of their next five games at New Era Field. Their first opponent in this stretch is the under achieving Jacksonville Jaguars.

  • Dan Carpenter - He hit all three field goal attempts from 26, 54, and 20 yards out. He was the difference in the game.
  • Kyle Williams - Was very disruptive in this game finishing with four tackles, one for a loss and a big hit on Dalton to force an incompletion.
  • Stephon Gilmore - He had two big interceptions.
  • Ryan Groy - Nice first start at center for the Bills.
  • Brandon Tate - Had 99 return yards and 48 receiving.

  • Goats
  • Tyrod Taylor - I know I'm down on him but he needed to come up big and he didn't. He had plenty of chances to put the game away and failed. Luckily the defense bailed him out.
  • Jerry Hughes - He was called for two penalties including a personal foul and was only in on one tackle.

  • Player Of The Week
  • Kyle Williams - He gets better with age.

  • Positional Breakdown and Grades Gamebook
    Bengals Game Preview
    Gameday Homepage