When the Cincinnati Bengals were being praised about their maturity and ability to overcome adversity earlier this week, they weren't kidding. Cincinnati had lost a 14-point third quarter lead against the Buffalo Bills, only to rebound and do just enough to beat the Bills in overtime.
They did it again.
It wasn't the scoring that slapped their face with adversity. It was Leon Hall's Achilles injury that momentarily cut Cincinnati's sails. Rey Maualuga's hamstring, Devon Still's elbow, and Wallace Gilberry's knee, forcing all of them out of the game. Reggie Nelson, Michael Johnson and Marvin Jones also suffered injuries, thankfully returning at some point during their respective exits. It was Jermaine Gresham's multiple penalties that ended possessions, one that resulted in a missed Mike Nugent field goal.
Everything that happened reverts back to the old, "these are not the games that the old Bengals would have won." Like they did against the Bills, the Bengals slapped all of today's adversity back with the vengeance of a Chuck Norris roundhouse kick.
With the game tied at 24 and 1:43 remaining in the game, Kevin Huber punted the football 45 yards to the Lions six-yard line.
Reggie Bush picked up four yards on first down to the ten-yard line when the Bengals called a timeout. It drew the Lions into making the effort to create an opportunity or a game-winning field goal; they even picked up a first down. Instead Stafford threw multiple incomplete passes, forcing the Lions to punt with 34 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.
Fortunately for the Bengals, Detroit's 28-yard punt rolled out at the Bengals 49-yard line. Dalton hits Dane Sazenbacher and Giovani Bernard on consecutive passes, reaching the Lions 36-yard line. Dalton finished the game completing 24 of 34 passes for 372 yards passing and three touchdowns for a passer rating of 135.9.
After Cincinnati took their final timeout, Mike Nugent crushed a 54-yard field goal to win the game 27-24.
It all started with seronating songs of A.J. Green, who double-moved cornerback Chris Houston to record an 82-yard touchdown during Cincinnati's third play from scrimmage. Green finished with a team-high 155 yards receiving on six receptions. Yet Cincinnati's defense wasn't able to slow Detroit between the 20s, who strung together three consecutive possessions of 12 plays or more in the first half, one resulting in a touchdown to tight end Brandon Pettigrew.
Eventually, the defense stood strong once the Lions were threatening, forcing a field goal early in the second quarter.
On the Lions ensuing possession, on the 12th play of the drive, Carlos Dunlap blocks an attempted field goal that was scooped up by Reggie Nelson. During his return, Nelson pitched the football (forward) to Carlos Dunlap when Cincinnati's offense takes possession from the Lions 40-yard line. Cincinnati took the 14-10 lead on Marvin Jones' beautiful 12-yard touchdown reception at the back of the endzone, leaving 41 seconds in the first half.
The Bengals opened the second half with an 80-yard drive, capped by a Tyler Eifert 31-yard touchdown on the ninth play of the drive to take a 21-10 lead with 10:42 remaining in the third quarter. The Lions responded with an 80-yard touchdown drive, and Mike Nugent converted a 48-yard field goal with 3:37 remaining in the third to maintain a seven-point lead. Detroit tied the game with 12 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter on an impressive 50-yard touchdown reception by Calvin Johnson, who out-jumped three defenders (Iloka, Nelson, and Burfict).
Cincinnati returns home next weekend to host the New York Jets.