Week 16 Game Recap: Buffalo Bills 37, Cincinnati Bengals 27
What you need to know
The Bills shocked the Bengals and registered their first road win of the season. It was the eighth straight win the Bills have had against the Bengals.
Although J.P. Losman was probable for the game, the start went to Kelly Holcomb. He rewarded the Bills with a 65 yard completion on his first play of the game and had over 300 passing yards on the day. Holcomb found Lee Evans for a touchdown and also ran one in himself on a quarterback sneak. Evans had over 100 yards receiving and Eric Moulds caught ten passes for 99 yards.
Willis McGahee had several chances to score but was held out of the end zone and finished with 66 yards on 23 carries.
The Billsí defense came up with two interceptions. Terrence McGee made the second pick in the final minute and returned it for a touchdown to seal the win. McGee had earlier returned a kick for 99 yards and had over 200 return yards on the day. As a team, the Bills had 382 net return yards.
The Bengals lost the game and all chance of a first round bye. Two big plays on defense and special teams by the Bills were the difference in the game.
Carson Palmer had 266 passing yards, and found Chad Johnson and Chris Henry with touchdown passes. Palmer threw an interception on the Bengalsí second possession and with the game on the line he threw another interception in the final minute which was returned for a touchdown. Chad Johnson ended the day with 117 receiving yards and a 41 yard touchdown but he made a few uncharacteristic drops.
Rudi Johnson had 88 rushing yards and looked very effective. He averaged almost five yards per carry but saw the Bengalsí only rushing touchdown go to WR Tab Perry.
The Bengals had the lead four times but the defense was unable to stop the Bills from replying. Kevin Kaesviharn had an interception but the defense was unable to generate any other turnovers in the game.
What you ought to know
|QB Kelly Holcomb, Pass: 24 - 31 - 308 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - 1 - 1|
Holcomb got another start for the Bills despite J.P. Losman being probable for the game. Holcomb began strongly with a 65 yard completion to Lee Evans that went to the Bengalsí two yard line. Holcomb found each of his four main receivers with passes of 19 yards or longer. He threw one touchdown pass on the day, finding Lee Evans for a three yard score. Holcomb also scored a touchdown on the ground on a one yard sneak. He turned the ball over once when Kevin Kaesviharn intercepted a pass intended for Eric Moulds. Holcomb had a good game and ended with 308 passing yards.
McGahee saw a lot of action in the game, ending with 23 carries for 66 yards. The disappointing part of his performance was his failure to find the end zone. The Bills found themselves at the two yard line on their opening drive and McGahee got the carry on second down and was stopped for no gain. They tried again on third down and he tripped over his own feet and failed to gain ground. McGahee had a carry on first and goal at the one yard line on the Billsí second possession of the second half, but he was stopped. A penalty gave the Bills another first and goal at the one and McGahee was stopped inches short of the goal line before Holcomb scored on a sneak on the following play. The Bills later had a first and goal at the seven and McGahee had three consecutive carries but could get no closer than the two yard line. He ran hard at times, but could not move the pile at the goal line when it mattered most. He caught three of his four targets but was stopped for a five yard loss on one and ended with zero receiving yards.
Shelton was targeted on third and one and turned it into an 11 yard gain.
Moulds was very much in the Billsí plans and was the favorite target of Holcomb on the day. Moulds was the intended target when Kevin Kaesviharn intercepted Holcomb. He made a good move and beat three or four tacklers on one reception for a 19 yard gain and a first down but most of his catches were for short gains. He ended the day with ten catches for 99 yards. On one catch, Moulds was tackled at the one yard line and stretched out for the end zone, but he was called short by a few inches and Holcomb eventually capped the drive with a one yard sneak for a touchdown.
Evans caught a long Holcomb pass on the Billsí first play from scrimmage and took it 65 yards to the Bengalsí two yard line. He later dropped a 20 yard pass that went straight to him but he continued his good day with a three yard reception for a touchdown. He had a 12 yard catch for a first down late in the first half before making a great diving catch for a 21 yard gain on the Billsí second possession of the second half.
Reed caught all three of his targets for a total of 60 yards. He converted on third and five on a 20 yard reception to give the Bills first and goal at the eight on their second possession. His next catch was for 18 yards and another first down late in the first half. Reedís final catch came on third and seven, and he gained 22 yards to keep alive the drive that gave the Bills the go ahead field goal.
Parrish caught both passes thrown his way. The most important one came on third and 18 when he broke a tackle and gained 28 yards to bring up a first down.
Euhus did not catch a pass in the game.
Lindell kicked field goals of 21, 24 and 22 yards, but dragged a ball badly left on a 48 yard attempt. He made all four extra point tries and successfully tried an onside kick which the Bills recovered after a review.
The Bills continued to struggle against the run. The Bengals averaged 4.5 yards per carry but surprisingly only ran the ball 23 times. The Bengals scored from two yards out on a toss to WR Tab Perry.
The Bills gave up 270 net passing yards to Carson Palmer, but made two big plays when it mattered. Troy Vincent intercepted a pass intended for Chad Johnson on the Bengalsí second possession, and then Terrence McGee intercepted Palmer in the final minute of the game and returned it 43 yards for a touchdown with the game on the line. DE Aaron Schobel registered two sacks but the Billsí pass rush did not pressure Palmer consistently.
|QB Carson Palmer, Pass: 25 - 36 - 266 - 2 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 4 - 14 - 0|
Palmer had a slow start to the game, throwing an interception on the Bengalsí second drive after they had gone three and out on the first. The pass was intended for Chad Johnson but Troy Vincent made the catch for the Bills. Palmer recovered well and led the Bengals down the field for the opening touchdown of the game, and later found Chad Johnson for a 41 yard score. By the half he was 12 of 18 for 154 yards, a touchdown and an interception and looked poised for a big game. He picked out Chris Henry for a 27 yard touchdown on the Bengalsí second possession of the second half but couldnít make passes late in the game when the Bengals needed it most. Chad Johnson was his favorite receiver and he kept looking for him despite several dropped passes. T.J. Houshmandzadeh was also heavily involved in Palmerís plans, and saw ten targets of his own. Down by three with a minute left in the game, Palmer sprinted to get out of bounds for a two yard gain. He appeared hobbled as he ran and was later said to have suffered a minor groin strain. He threw an interception on the following play. Jon Kitna replaced him on the following series, the last of the game.
|QB Jon Kitna, Pass: 2 - 2 - 17 - 0 TD / 0 INT|
Kitna entered the action down by ten with 30 seconds left in the game and played three snaps. He was sacked by Aaron Schobel on the final play of the game.
|RB Rudi Johnson, Rush: 18 - 88 - 0, Rec: 2 - 8 - 0 (2 targets)|
Johnson ran well against a suspect Billsí rush defense, but was surprisingly only given 18 carries in the game. He showed the ability to break several runs of ten yards or more and was able to carry tacklers in short yardage situations. After running to the three yard line, the Bengals chose to pass on third and two and Palmer was sacked for a nine yard loss by Aaron Schobel. Johnson gained 88 yards on the ground at almost five yards per carry.
Johnson was not used in the running game and caught two of his three targets for a total of six yards.
Johnson had a big game, catching nine of his 15 targets for 117 yards and a 41 yard touchdown. He converted two third downs on the Bengalsí third possession which led to their opening touchdown. The first came on third and ten, and he gained 18 yards. The other was on third and one and he turned the catch into a 12 yard gain. He caught a 15 yard pass two drives later and then dropped an easy pass. Palmer went straight back to him on the next play and Johnson turned it into a 41 yard touchdown. He left for the locker room 30 seconds early at the end of the first half with the Bills in possession, but was apparently fine. He had 91 yards by the half and had a quiet second half. Johnson dropped another easy pass that would have given him close to 20 yards on the play.
Houshmandzadeh was again heavily featured in the passing game, catching seven of his ten targets. He had a 12 yard first down reception on the drive that led to the Bengalsí opening touchdown. His best play of the day came on a second and nine play where he caught the ball, cut inside, and made a defender miss to gain 14 yards for the first down. He was always looking to cut back and make a move, rather than accept what was given and run out of bounds.
Walter had a five yard reception on third and three to bring up a first down. He also had a seven yard reception and another first down, although he looked to have been tackled a yard short of where the ball was spotted. He ended the day with three catches for 21 yards.
Henry was only targeted once in the game when he was open for a 27 yard touchdown on a good throw from Palmer.
Washington was targeted once, making the catch for a four yard gain.
Perry was used to return kicks as usual, but he made an unexpected contribution on offense. He carried the ball for only the second time this season, taking a toss from Palmer two yards into the end zone for the Bengalsí opening score.
Schobel made a 23 yard reception for a first down on the drive leading to Chad Johnsonís 41 yard touchdown. Schobel gained seven yards on his only other target.
Graham was perfect on the day, converting field goals of 31 and 27 yards as well as three extra point attempts.
The Bengals were challenged early and often by Willis McGahee, and they won the battle on the ground. They held him out of the end zone on two plays from the two yard line on the Billsí opening drive. They stopped McGahee at the one yard line twice in the second half before Kelly Holcomb scored on a one yard sneak. The run defense stopped McGahee again late in the game on three carries from the seven yard line, forcing the Bills to kick a field goal.
The Bengalsí pass rush did not cause Kelly Holcomb too many problems. He was sacked three times (Brian Simmons, John Thornton and Justin Smith) and intercepted by Kevin Kaesviharn on a pass intended for Moulds, but stretched the defense on several long passes, ending the day with 288 net passing yards. The Bills had a 65 yard completion on their first offensive play of the game and that set the tone for the rest of the day, although the Bengals only conceded one touchdown to the passing game.