Bills fall to 3-3 in loss to Bengals


56. Final. 21. 16. 34

At his media day on Wednesday, Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan stated that for his team to be taken seriously, the Cincinnati Bengals are a team they had to beat.

Though it started out well enough thanks to an opening drive touchdown, Buffalo just didn’t have the firepower necessary to keep up with the Bengals as they fell 34-21. The loss drops the Bills to 3-3 on the season while elevating the Bengals to 6-0.

With Tyrod Taylor out with a sprained MCL, third-year quarterback E.J. Manuel made his first start since week 4 of the 2014 season. He started strong, leading the Bills on an 80-yard drive that was capped off by a one-yard Manuel rush to put the Bills up 7-0.

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But penalties would allow the Bengals to start on the Bills’ side of the 50-yard line on four of their first five possessions of the game. Because of this, the high-powered attack of Cincinnati was able to put up 17 straight points to take a 10-point lead.

Buffalo would cut the lead to three at half thanks to a touchdown pass from Manuel to Sammy Watkins with less than a minute to go. Watkins, however, would leave the game right after that due to a sprained ankle; he finished the game with four catches for 48 yards and a score.

LeSean McCoy, who returned from a hamstring injury after missing the last two games, ran for 90 yards and a touchdown on 17  carries to help the Bills offense. It just wasn’t enough to get them over the hump.

Though Buffalo had success on the offensive side of the ball, it was the Bills defense that had even more trouble solving the Cincinnati offense on Sunday.

Andy Dalton continued is stellar season by going 22-33 for 243 yards and three touchdowns. On the ground, Gio Bernard led the way for the Bengals with 50 yards and a score; Marvin Jones had 9 catches for 95 yards and a touchdown.

Buffalo now travels to London for a matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars next week before hitting the bye. The playoffs are still a possibility for this team, but they will need to find away to string wins together in order to even have a shot at making the postseason for the first time since 1999.