The Cincinnati Bengals have needed a key, late game play in the clutch this season, they mostly have gotten it. The Bengals have had just the right big play when they have needed it the most.
As the wins continue to pile up, the Bengals are beginning to show a team full of dramatic finishes. Of their four victories, three the last three have come when the seconds of regulation have either been expiring or have ticked away. Sunday’s was of them.
For the first time since 2009, the Bengals went to overtime, beating the Buffalo Bills,27-24 on a Mike Nugent’s game-winning 43 yard field goal ended up accomplishing what probably should have been done some seven minutes prior.
Whether the Bengals like it or not, this is their identity. They are becoming that team. You know, the one that can play well at the start, sloppy in the middle and pretty at the very finish. The one that for whatever reason stumbles toward the finish line, and somehow trips over it just in time. Lets called them the “Cardiac Cats”.
But Sunday’s game sure was heading that way.
With about 11 minutes remaining, the Bengals went up 24-10 and looked to be in full control against a quarterback who, until last Monday, was on the Bills’ practice squad. As the momentum was on Cincy’s side, it seemed obvious the Bengals were going to not only win the game by double digits, but do so in conceivable fashion.
But then, the little known Thaddeus Lewis making his second career start came alive. Breakdowns in Bengals coverage led to a few big plays and before you knew it, a 22 yard play on a third down play and a 40 yard touchdown later, Buffalo tied the game with 1:00 left in regulation and Bengals fans were probably like “Here we go again!”.
The game should have been over. Everyone on the Bengals sideline knew that of course.
Against Green Bay three weeks ago, the Bengals won on a fourth down fumble recovery by Terence Newman. After defensive end Micheal Johnson forced the ball loose with his helmet on the late game defensive stand, safety Reggie Nelson scooped the ball and started to run before he lost it, too. Newman grabbed Nelson’s fumble and sprinted in for the go ahead score. One defensive series later, Johnson batted away an Aaron Rodgers fourth down pass that ended the game. Who Dey nation won that game 34-30.
A week and half ago, against New England, the Bengals battled through a monsoon that hit Paul Brown Stadium with less than two minutes remaining. As Pats Quarterback Tom Brady threw his last pass in the monsoon, cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones tip the ball as he fell and landed on the ground, he caught the interception, despite conditions that weren’t favorable to do so. The play happened with 16 seconds on the game clock, to seal the victroy over Brady and company 13-6.
On Sunday, it was Brandon Tate’s big time 29 yard punt return in overtime that set up Nugent’s game winning kick.
Even in the season opener, one the Bengals lost by three to the Chicago Bears after blowing a 11 point lead, Cincinnati had a chance to drive for a game tying or game winning score in every game expect for the MNF game victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Cardiac Cats are alive and well whether you like it or not as long as they keep winning games.