For the second straight week the “Cardiac Cats” ounce again did it again. As quarterbacks Andy Dalton and Matthew Stafford combined to throw a lot of highlight worthy passes especially to their superstars wide receivers AJ Green and Calvin Johnson.
But the Bengals used superior special teams for a second straight hard fought road win, 27-24 against the Detroit on Sunday at Ford Field in Detroit.
Mike Nugent’s 54-yard field goal as time expired won it, but two punts and a blocked field goal also were crucial in the outcome of the game.
The AFC North leading Bengals won a game for the second straight week by the same score thanks to Nugent’s right foot. He made an overtime kick to give Cincinnati a win after it blew a 14-point, fourth-quarter lead at Buffalo last week.
Dalton threw two short passes to gain 15 yards and called the team’s last timeout with 4 seconds left to set up Nugent’s game-winning field goal.
“Pretty clutch kick, two weeks in a row,” Dalton said.
Dalton was pretty good again, too after being named AFC Offensive player of the week.
He was 24 of 34 for 372 yards, the third highest total of his career and threw three touchdown passes for the second straight game. He didn’t have an interception to help him reach a career-high 135.9 QB rating.
After Dalton was sacked for the first and only time Sunday, Bengals punter Kevin Huber hit a perfect, 45yard punt that pinned Detroit to its 6 with 1:40 left in the fourth quarter.
The Lions gained just 17 yards, then their rookie punter Martin sent a bad punt out of bounds at the Bengals 49 giving the Cincinnati offense great field position to get into Nugent’s range.
The turning point of the first half where was single handily dominated by the Lions with the time of possession, Defensive end Carlos Dunlap came up what a huge momentum shift play when he blocked David Akers’s kick from the Cincinnati 16, leading to a return that gave the Bengals the ball at the Detroit 40 with 2:17 left of the first half.
Dalton and crew took full advantage of the huge play, lofting a 12 yard pass into the back of the end zone, where only Marvin Jones could catch it with 41 seconds left in the first half giving the Bengals a 14-10 lead into halftime.
Stafford was 28 of 51 for 357 yards with three TDs and didn’t throw an interception breaking the streak of the Bengals defense of not allowing a 300 yard passer at 19 games.
Johnson hands down the best wide receiver in the game caught nine passes for 155 yards and two TDs, the second of which was one of the most impressive of his career to this date because he leaped to catch a 50-yard pass while surrounded by three Bengals in the end zone to tie the game at 24 early in the fourth. Bengals Rookie Tight End Tyler Eifert caught his first career NFL touchdown in the third quarter giving Cincinnati a 21-10 lead at that point.
The Bengals had a pretty good pitch and-catch combination as well too.
Cincinnati scored the first time it had the ball when Dalton connected with Green on an 82-yard TD, the second-longest pass of his career, after the receiver got past corner back of the Lions. Green finished with six catches and 155 yards receiving. Mix in the wild victory was the loss of Leon Hall the best corner back on the team which coach Marvin Lewis called after the game a “significant injury” will have more when the details come out but it looks to be that Hall will be out for the remainder of the season which is a big blow for the defense.
The Bengals improve to 5-2 and alone at top in the AFC North and will take on the New York Jets (4-3) next Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium at 4:05pm.