Rex Ryan’s defense and the Bills’ much-maligned defensive backfield came through down the stretch in a must-win 16-12 victory over Cincinnati.
The Bengals came into the game with the No. 10 passing offense in the NFL, averaging 265 yards a game. The Bills held Andy Dalton to just 207 yards on 43 attempts. The Bengals went three and out on four straight possessions before their final desperation drive.
No Tyler: The Bills just finished facing a murderer’s row of tight ends. They had given up 17 catches for 247 yards combined to Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham the previous two weeks. But they held Tyler Eifert to just three catches for 37 yards.
Cover 2: Credit the defensive backs with executing a Cover 2 zone scheme. Dalton was checking down all day.
Star DT: Kyle Williams was the best defensive lineman on the field, even though Cincinnati’s Geno Atkins gets more publicity. It was nice to finally have Marcell Dareus back. He helped stuff the middle. Cincy got just 93 rushing yards.
Worth the money: Mike Gillislee is a bargain at a salary of $600,000 a year. The guy is a one-cut hit-the-hole hard back.
Good enough: Tyrod Taylor did enough. No the Bills couldn’t put away the Bengals with another score in the fourth quarter. But keep in mind what a limited cast he has on offense.
The Good Tyrod: Taylor made a great play from the pocket to start that drive, hitting Brandon Tate over the middle for a 34-yard catch-and-run. It’s great to see Taylor make a pass late in the down from the pocket like that. Tate beat linebacker Vontaze Burfict on crossing route.
The Bad Tyrod: Taylor missed a wide open Justin Hunter on a second-and-goal play in which he threw incomplete to a covered Charles Clay. The Bills settled for a field goal. Hunter broke free at the left pylon out of a bunch formation to the left. AND: Taylor bolted the pocket too early on a third-and-4 scramble on the second last Bills drive. Vontaze Burfict was spying him. The pass protection was good on the play. He didn’t have to ditch the scheme. What about Tyrod's INT for Marquise Goodwin at the end of the first half? He put the ball in a good spot. That's a case where the Bills' lack of size at outside receiver hurts. Goodwin was too small to out fight Dre Kirkpatrick or break it up.
Just run: Did not like the play calls by Anthony Lynn with second and-goal from the Bengals’ 2 early in the fourth quarter. The Bills threw incomplete twice. Run the ball.
About time: Dan Carpenter was due (overdue?) to come up big, and his 54-yard field goal in the third quarter kind of made up for the three points the Bills gave away at the end of the first half.