ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) — The first snowy game of the year could have paved the way for the return of the Buffalo Bills cold front, but the Bengals would melt the Bills chance of victory on Sunday.
Freezing temperatures in Buffalo did not stop the Bengals from throwing up more than 30 points on the board as they continue their undefeated rampage across their National Football League schedule, bringing down the Bills 34 to 21.
Andy Dalton and his stout Bengals offense did what they’re known for — playing smart, confident and well-paced football.
The Bengals weren’t without their struggles while in Buffalo, however. Bills defenders were able to fend off many of Dalton’s strikes, but sloppy play would grant the Bengals the breaks they needed to establish control.
The Buffalo Bills, infamously known by now for their penalties, had no answer for sloppy play and needless penalties that would lead to multiple successful drives by the Cincinnati Bengals.
Calls on Marquise Goodwin, Robert Woods and a blatant unsportsmanlike conduct call on Ron Brooks, would all mount up to seven penalties for 83 yards in the third quarter alone.
Buffalo incurred most of its most impactful penalties on special teams plays, including the flag on Brooks and a facemask call on Goodwin, but each of those penalties allowed the Bengals to start near midfield a handful of times, allowing one of the league’s strongest offenses prime field position.
Buffalo’s response paled in comparison, despite a confident showing by backup quarterback EJ Manuel.
Manuel led his offense in Tyrod Taylor’s absence to three touchdowns and nearly 400 yards of production.
The Bills looked strongest in their first drive, stringing together 11 successful plays for 80 yards, capped off by a touchdown run by Manuel himself.
Manuel couldn’t pull out the win alone, however. He lacked offensive weapons as the game wound on.
Percy Harvin did not play in the game, along with Karlos Williams. Sammy Watkins played, even catching a touchdown pass for Buffalo, however he sprained an ankle, forcing his exit in the second quarter.
Buffalo’s offensive line struggled as well. Seantrel Henderson, who has struggled throughout the season, left the game with a potential concussion.
With tight end Charles Clay, wide receiver Robert Woods and running back LeSean McCoy still in the game, it may have seemed like Buffalo still had a toothy offense, but McCoy hasn’t yet recovered from a nagging hamstring injury, Woods could not stop committing penalties and Clay was covered well throughout the game.
With reserves left at his back, and consistent penalties hampering his drives, Manuel could not secure more than the three scores to contest the Bengals.
Head Coach Rex Ryan, however composed on the sidelines, apparently had no answer for his struggling offense more than two weeks after promising penalties would evaporate.
Until the Bills can become a more composed team and recover from the string of crippling injuries, they may continue to struggle as their season moves forward.
Players are undoubtedly looking forward to the Bills’ bye week in just two weeks after the Bills head to London to face off with the Jaguars.