Cincinnati Bengals Overcome Worst-Case Play to Defeat Tampa Bay Buccaneers


Nov 30, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith shakes hands with Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis after the Bengals beat the Buccaneers 14-13 at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals are at their worst when quarterback Andy Dalton bungles his way through a game, and he was a vintage bumbler on Sunday in being sacked twice and throwing three interceptions against just one touchdown on 176 yards passing. Luckily, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are bad enough that the Bengals still escaped with a 14-13 victory thanks to coach Marvin Lewis’s illegal review challenge.  

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With less than two minutes left, coaches can’t throw their challenge flag, but that didn’t stop Lewis from doing so after the Bucs connected on a 21-yard pass play, but also had 12 men on the field.  As reported by Ryan Glasspiegel at The Big Lead, that move stopped the clock and prompted game officials to review the play, which they overturned.  That call left Tampa Bay out of field goal range and allowed the Bengals to hold on in what should have been an easy win.

Not much about this game looked very good, other than the final score, as both offenses sputtered.  The Bengals did manage to pull off a trick play, hearkening back to the high-flying days of the early season, when Dalton ran the ball into the end zone from five yards out in the fourth quarter.

Aside from the win, the other big positive to take away from Sunday’s action was that ALL of the other AFC North teams lost, giving the Bengals a game-and-a-half lead heading into the season’s final quarter.

They’ll likely need all the cushion they can get, too, since they play the Pittsburgh Steelers (twice), the Cleveland Browns and the Denver Broncos in December. There are no gimmes in those games, and a repeat of today’s performance will hang a big L on Bengals’ record.