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Week 6 Cincinnati Bengals at Buffalo Bills: Revisiting recent matchups

A look at the recent history between the Cincinnati Bengals and their Week 6 opponent, the Buffalo Bills

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For Bengals’ fans, things were pretty good in the 1980’s. Not only did the decade of the 80’s give the Bengals a pair of Super Bowl appearances, and their "Welcome to the Jungle" theme song, but, for what it’s worth, the Bengals also dominated the Buffalo Bills during that span.

From the 1981 season to the 1988 season the Bengals were 7-1 against the Buffalo Bills, including a pair of playoff victories. It was a solid run by the Bengals, who averaged almost 30 points a game during that span.

But, aided by the Bengals’ dismal "decade of the 90’s", things got bad in a hurry. After their 1998 season playoff victory against the Bills, the Bengals went on to lose 10 consecutive games against them.

The last of these 10 losses was perhaps the most pitiful Bengals’ game of recent memory. Up 31-14 at halftime, and facing a Bills team that went on to post a 4-12 record, the Bengals gave up 35 unanswered points in the second half (including three touchdown passes from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Stevie Johnson), on their way to an abysmal 49-31 loss at Paul Brown Stadium.

The Bengals' second half drives were a fumble, interception, punt, missed field goal, another interception, and a final drive which was mercifully ended by the expiration of the game clock after back-to-back sacks of Jordan Palmer on the last two plays of the game.

Thankfully, things have gotten better. The Bengals have won their last two games against the Bills – both narrow three point victories.

10/2/2011 W Cincinnati Bengals Buffalo Bills 23 - 20 boxscore

On October 2nd 2011, the Bengals jumped out to an early 3-0 lead on a short Mike Nugent field goal. But that lead quickly evaporated as the Bills scored on their next possession. Following an Andy Dalton pick-six, and a Fred Jackson touchdown run, the Bengals trailed 17-3 at halftime. The Bengals fought back, and with just over four minutes remaining, they finally caught up with the Bills. Dalton ran in a touchdown from three yards out to even things up at 20-20. On the ensuing drive, the Bills faced a 2nd down and 3, when Rey Maualuga came up big, tackling Fred Jackson for a two yard loss. The Bengals forced a three and out, and got the ball back at their own 19 yard line with 1:48 to play. Brian Leonard came up big on that final drive with a 7-yard rush, a 15-yard reception, and a 14-yard rush, as the Bengals reached the Bills' 39 yard line. Nugent nailed the game winning 43 yard field goal as time expired.

10/13/2013 W Cincinnati Bengals @ Buffalo Bills 27 - 24 boxscore

On October 13th 2013, the Bengals held a 24-10 lead in the fourth quarter behind three Andy Dalton touchdown passes (to A.J. Green, Giovani Bernard, and Marvin Jones). But the Bills eliminated that lead thanks to a pair of touchdown passes from the inestimable Thaddeus Lewis. Lewis hit Scott Chander to cut the Bengals’ lead to 7, and with a minute remaining, Lewis hit Marquise Goodwin on a 40 yard completion, forcing the game to overtime. The Bengals received the opening kickoff in overtime, but were forced to punt. Huber pinned the Bills inside the 10 yard line. Following a 3 and out on their first overtime possession, the Bills punted back to the Bengals’ Brandon Tate, who had a big 29 yard return, getting the ball to the Bills’ 33 yard line. From there the Bengals just called a few "up the gut" runs for minimal gains, setting up Nugent with the 43 yard game winning field goal.

This weekend, the Bengals travel to Buffalo to face a 3-2 Bills team who are 1-2 at home. In Week 1 the Bills managed a surprise win over the Colts, but since then have struggled playing in Buffalo. They suffered a blowout loss at home against the Patriots (with a much better looking final score due to a lot of "garbage time" points) in Week 2, and a 24-10 setback against the Giants in Week 4. On the road, the Bills are 2-0, although they played the hapless Dolphins and last week, the Titans, and held just a +6 turnover margin in those two games.