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Nick Veronica's quarterly analysis: Bills defense flexes its muscles

The Bills defense knocked down a last-second pass into the end zone to preserve its second-half shutout that lifted the team to an ugly, 16-12 win against the Bengals that kept their playoff hopes alive.

The Bills didn’t get a sack or a turnover in the second half, but held the Bengals to just 95 net yards. The defense was especially strong in the fourth quarter, forcing three-and-outs on the Bengals’ first three drives.

The Bills' offense had plenty of chances to put the game away late but failed to do so. Their fourth-quarter drives lasted 2:41, 1:46 and 1:44 before punting. They got the clock down inside of the final three minutes on their last drive while the Bengals were out of timeouts, but failed to pick up one last first down that could’ve put the game away.

Hmmm: The Bills faced third and 3 on the Bengals’ 39 with 2:41 to go. They pride themselves as a running team and averaged 5.4 yards per carry Sunday, but decided to put the ball in the air to win the game, even with the Bengals having no way to stop the clock. Tyrod Taylor’s pass went incomplete for Percy Harvin. It worked out in the end, but not running behind Richie Incognito was a questionable call.

Third quarter analysis: Missed XPs looming large as Bills lead Bengals 13-12

Second quarter analysis: Bills finally get an interception, but can't capitalize

First quarter analysis: Offensive line holding up as missed XP has Bills ahead 7-6

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