Late FG lifts Bengals over Bills 23-20

October 2, 2011 - 4:50 PM
Bills Bengals Football

Buffalo Bills safety George Wilson intercepts a pass intended for Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Andre Caldwell (87) in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2011, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Tony Tribble)

CINCINNATI (AP) — Buffalo had stayed perfect by pulling off late comebacks. The Bills' surprising streak ended when they failed to stop one led by a rookie quarterback.

Andy Dalton shook off a horrid first half and led his first comeback victory Sunday, culminating in Mike Nugent's 43-yard field goal as time ran out for a 23-20 win over the previously undefeated Bills.

The Bills (3-1) came in as the AFC's last perfect team after pulling off historic comebacks, rallying from deficits of 18 and 21 points in the previous two games.

They found themselves on the other end of one in front of the smallest crowd in Paul Brown Stadium's history.

Dalton threw a third-quarter touchdown pass and ran 3 yards on a draw play, tying it with 4:09 to go. He scrambled for a first down on the winning drive — a replay overturn gave him the needed ground — and Nugent ended it with his third field goal.

The Bengals (2-2) overcame a 17-3 halftime deficit to end a 10-game losing streak against Buffalo.

Only 41,142 fans showed up, the smallest crowd in the stadium's 12 seasons. Many of them left before Dalton pulled himself together and pulled off his first game-winning drive.

Buffalo moved ahead 17-3 during Dalton's horrid first half. The second-round draft pick was only 7 of 20 for 116 yards with two sacks and an interception that safety Bryan Scott returned 43 yards for a touchdown. His passer rating was a minuscule 15.8.

The rookie finally got it going with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Gresham, the Bengals' first touchdown in seven quarters. He went 3 yards on a quarterback draw to tie it, then scrambled to set up the winning kick the next time Cincinnati got the ball.

On third-and-3 from the Cincinnati 43, he scrambled away from the rush and dived out of bounds, stretching the ball as far ahead as he could. It was marked a few inches short of the first down. After a review, the ball was moved about a foot forward, giving the Bengals a first down.

Brian Leonard caught a 15-yard pass and ran 14 yards to the Buffalo 25, setting up the winning kick. Nugent, coming off knee surgery last year, is 10 for 10 on field goal chances.

Dalton finished 18 of 36 for 298 yards. Cedric Benson ran 19 times for 104 yards, taking some of the pressure off Dalton.

Coming off an emotional win over New England, the Bills were flat on offense and never got moving. They'd scored at least 30 points in each of the first three games, but managed only Scott's touchdown return, Fred Jackson's 2-yard run and a pair of field goals.

Last year, the Bills came to Paul Brown Stadium and pulled off a comeback that got them going, rallying behind Ryan Fitzpatrick for a 49-31 win after trailing 31-14 at halftime. Fitzpatrick couldn't make a big play in the second half on Sunday, finishing 20 of 34 for 199 yards.