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Bengals vs. Buccaneers: Cincinnati prevails over Tampa Bay, 37-34

Cincinnati had a huge lead against Tampa Bay, but gave it up in the second half. But, they rallied at the end of the game to get the desperately-needed win ahead of their bye week.

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Cincinnati Bengals v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Cliff McBride/Getty Images

The Bengals hosted the Buccaneers this week and this was their last chance to get things right before they hit their bye week.

Here were the game updates from Paul Brown Stadium!

Fourth quarter:

The final quarter of the contest had a couple of odd occurrences, as Dre Kirkpatrick ended up returning from his Achilles injury, while Ryan Fitzpatrick entered the game for Tampa Bay at quarterback. “Fitzmagic” came to fruition a bit, as he led the Buccaneers to a drive that culminated in a Chandler Catanzaro field goal and a 34-19 score.

Cincinnati’s explosive first half offense completely disappeared, as they went three-and-out after the field goal. Fitzpatrick made his old team pay with a huge bomb of a touchdown to Mike Evans, to cut the Bengals’ lead to just eight points—34-26.

Cincinnati moved the ball a bit on another drive, but Fitzpatrick just kept slicing-and-dicing the Bengals’ defense. He converted a 4th-and-3 for a touchdown to O.J. Howard and then hit the game-tying two-point conversion to Chris Godwin. It was 34-34 with 1:05 left in regulation.

Cincinnati got the ball back and moved it relatively well with three first downs, as they got to the 26-yard line. It set up a 44-yard game-winning attempt by Randy Bullock and he nailed it in a swirling win.

The Bengals made things interesting once again and prevailed, 37-34 to get to 5-3 into their bye week.

Third quarter:

Tampa Bay received the kickoff at the onset of the second half and moved the ball well, despite shooting themselves in the foot a couple of times. The Buccaneers got out of a 2nd-and-20 from a holding penalty, as well as getting 15 yards on 3rd-and-13 after an Adolphus Washington sack to get into the end zone. Winston hit Adam Humphries for an 18-yard catch to be followup up by a Peyton Barber touchdown run to chip away at Cincinnati’s lead, 27-16.

Cincinnati’s offense went three-and-out, as Tampa Bay tried to cut further into the Bengals’ lead. Once again gashing the Bengals’ defense on third down. However, Jameis Winston’s poor passing continued, as he overthrew a wide open tight end, allowing Jordan Evans to corral the interception. Unfortunately, Cincinnati’s defense looks to have lost cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick for at least the game with an Achilles injury.

The Bengals’ offense didn’t hold up their end of the bargain, going three-and-out once again in the third quarter. Cincinnati recorded its fifth sack of the game and one play later, Jessie Bates III grabbed his second interception of the season and returned it 21 yards for a score. Cincinnati subsequently took a 34-16 off of Winston’s fourth interception of the game.

Second quarter:

The Bengals pieced together a decent drive, and were uncharacteristically aggressive once again, as they went for it on 4th-and-3 and converted thanks to a reception by A.J. Green. Joe Mixon had a nice run on a sweep, followed by a reception, as the Bengals capped the drive on a Tyler Boyd touchdown reception. Dalton made a great read on the 3rd-and-6 play, as he threw to the back shoulder of Boyd, who made a nice adjustment to put the Bengals up 14-0.

Cincinnati’s defense held strong, stopping the next Buccaneers drive with a Sam Hubbard sack on third down. The Bengals’ offense went right back to work, as Dalton hit Boyd for two big gains, while Mixon had two nice gains, including an 8-yard touchdown gallop where he went in the end zone untouched.

But, after having a three touchdown lead, the Bengals’ defense took their foot off of the gas pedal. Hubbard was flagged for a personal foul on Winston, and the quarterback hit Desean Jackson on the ensuing play for a 60-yard touchdown bomb. Chandler Catanzaro missed the extra point, but Tampa Bay cut the Bengals’ lead to 21-6.

However, Bill Lazor pulled out another great set of plays, as the team looked to rebound form the Jackson score. Mixon had a 43-yard run, to put him over 100 yards rushing in the first half, which set the Bengals at the 18-yard line. And, in case you hadn’t noticed, Mixon is having a special kind of afternoon:

Right after a timeout, Dalton lofted a pretty pass to A.J. Green, who brought the ball down for his 63rd career touchdown—good for second-highest in team history. Randy Bullock missed his first extra point of the year though, but the team had a 27-6 lead with 2:34 left in the half.

Unfortunately, offensive guard Clint Boling came out of the game with a back injury and was replaced by Christian Westerman. Boling would not return, while Lawson, who was injured in the first quarter, has been reported to have a torn ACL and could be done for the season.

Tampa Bay went into their two-minute drill, but despite a sack by Carlos Dunlap and a missed easy interception opportunity by William Jackson, the Buccaneers still kept themselves alive. Winston and Catanzaro got the team another field goal right before the half, to cut the lead, 27-9, in favor of the Bengals.

First quarter:

The Bengals started the game strong with a few impressive Joe Mixon runs and then surprisingly went for it on fourth down at the Tampa 20 yard line and didn’t get it. The Bucs then started storming down the field and went for it on fourth down, too. They did get it but Shawn Williams intercepted Jameis Winston in the end zone and brought it out to the Cincinnati 25-yard line.

Unfortunately, on the team’s first defensive series, the Bengals seemed to have lost another key player to an injury. Defensive end Carl Lawson went down with a knee injury and his return is doubtful. Cincinnati was also dealing with yet another injury at tight end, as C.J. Uzomah wass being checked out in the locker room with what is reportedly a shoulder injury, but he has since returned.

The Bengals got great field position after forcing a punt and went right back to work. Andy Dalton hit recently-promoted tight end Jordan Franks for a big gain, followed by a near-touchdown on a great play by Tyler Boyd. Cincinnati decided to eschew challenging the Boyd play, but followed it up with a Joe Mixon one-yard touchdown run to go up on the Buccaneers, 7-0.

Tampa Bay was on the move on the ensuing possession, thanks to a couple catches by Mike Evans and Co. But, Winston’s poor decision-making skills were on display once again. He threw an ill-advised pass back to the short-middle area to the field and Preston Brown intercepted it to end their drive. Defensive end Sam Hubbard may have gotten a finger on the throw.

After starting the season 4-1, Marvin Lewis’ team has suffered back-to-back tough losses. A last minute defeat to the Steelers was followed by an embarrassing blowout loss against the Chiefs. Cincinnati is still 4-3 though, and a win this week would get them to 5-3 and looking pretty good compared to the rest of the AFC.

The Bengals will be trying to get their offense back on track after only scoring more than 20 points once in their past three weeks, and the defense really needs to start tackling again. It was a huge issue against the Chiefs as it often took a second or third defender to actually get an offensive player down.

The Buccaneers are in a weird spot. They are coming off an overtime win against the Browns that has them sitting at 3-3. They were on a three-game losing streak prior to that win. They started the season riding Ryan Fitzpatrick since Jameis Winston was suspended. The team even started Fitzpatrick over Winston once he returned from suspension, but that didn’t last long as the magic ran out on Fitzpatrick.

Their offense hasn’t exactly gotten on track since then though. Tampa Bay actually has all the makings of being one of the worst teams in the NFL. They have given up the most points and passing yards per game of any team in the NFL. They also have one of the worst running games in the NFL. Through six games Peyton Barber only has 260 yards rushing on 74 carries.

It seems like a good matchup on paper for the Bengals, but then again Cincinnati only put up 10 points on one of the worst defenses in football last week in Arrowhead Stadium. There are no defenses willing to rollover in the NFL, and hopefully the Bengals learned that last week.

How to watch the Bengals host the Buccaneers:

Game: Cincinnati Bengals (4-3) vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-3)

Date/Time: Oct. 28th, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. EST

Location: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH

Streaming: Fubo TV

Series Leader: Buccaneers lead the all-time series 7-4

Streak: Buccaneers have won six of the last seven

Coaches vs. Opponent: Marvin Lewis: (1-2) vs. Dirk Koetter (0-0)

TV Broadcast: The game will air on FOX-TV. In the Bengals’ home region, it will be carried by WXIX-TV (Ch. 19) in Cincinnati, WGRT-TV (Ch. 45) in Dayton, WDKY-TV (Ch. 56) in Lexington, and WTTE-TV (Ch. 28) in Columbus. Broadcasters are Chris Myers (play-by-play), Daryl Johnston (analyst) and Laura Okmin (sideline reporter).

Radio Broadcast: The game will air on the Bengals Radio Network, led by Cincinnati flagship stations WLW-AM (700), WCKY-AM (ESPN 1530; all sports) and WEBN-FM (102.7). Broadcasters are Dan Hoard (play-by-play) and Dave Lapham (analyst).

SB Nation Bucs site: Bucs Nation

Weather: High 40’s, Overcast [NFL weather]

Odds: Bengals open as, -6 [Odds Shark]