The Buffalo Bills lost a close game against A.J. Green yesterday dropping them into a three-way tie for first place in the AFC East with the Jets and Patriots who also share a 3-2 record. Green didn't play the Bills completely by himself but he might as well have. He made the biggest plays for both teams in a close 20 - 16 Bengals victory.
If you recall, last week I was battling a nasty hangover during the game and powered through just as the Bills powered through the Falcons. This week, I was facing a much different set of circumstances. Like an idiot, I booked a flight back from Pittsburgh during the game. Rather than jump into the game around 2 p.m. when my flight landed, I decided to hole myself up in a bunker and shield myself from all football knowledge and contact with the outside world.
It was a strange sensation having my cell phone, computer and tablet off. I had all these thoughts but I couldn't tweet them out to the world. I was forced to be present in the moment and actually listen to myself. I hated this feeling. It was awful. I yearned for a cell phone so I could play Angry Birds to ease my pain.
What I did not realize when I made the "ingenious" decision to bunker down was that I had to wait until 8 p.m. to watch the game. The minutes felt like hours and the hours felt like days but around 7:45 p.m. last night, I was finally able to watch the replay of the game on NFL Gamepass.
During the game last week I battled a hangover but this week I had a new opponent. It was a fruit fly and no matter how hard I tried to kill it, it would not go away and would keep landing on top of my beer can infuriating me. This was very much an omen for what A.J. Green would do to the Bills during the game I was about to watch.
Green finished the day with 7 catches for 189 yards and a touchdown. He set the tone early catching the first pass of the game for 15 yards. On the Bengals second drive, he toasted Tre'Davious White for a 77 yard touchdown catch. It was a pretty good impression of Stephon Gilmore, but he screwed up the part where he looks around trying to blame a safety. After three minutes and thirty one seconds Green had 99 yards receiving and a touchdown.
I wish he stopped there, but much like the fruit fly, he would annoy me all afternoon. The Bills did have a nice drive late in the 1st quarter which ended with a 31 yard field goal making the game 7 to 3 in favor of the Bengals. On that drive, Tyrod Taylor connected on nice passes to Charles Clay and Nick O'Leary followed by a LeSean McCoy run which brought the Bills deep into Cincinnati territory. Charles Clay was injured on the catch he made as he went out of bounds. He would not return costing the Bills their best receiving option for the remainder of the day.
The next drive for the Bengals featured something I have never seen before and two familiar things. Micah Hyde got his shoe stuck for a few seconds with a Bengals players' shoe and had to be helped by the referee to separate them. That's a first for me. The familiar things were a sack by Marcell Dareus, his first of the year, and a 3rd and long which was not converted by the Bengals but would ultimately lead to a first down due to a Jerry Hughes roughing the passer penalty. Some things never change. The Bengals would end up with three points on the drive making it 10 to 3.
The Bills offense was doing nothing all afternoon, but that's when the best offensive player in the game for either team, A.J. Green, decided to help the Bills score some points. Green tipped up a pass from Andy Dalton and it was intercepted by Micah Hyde who returned it to the Bengals 23. Shortly after, Tyrod Taylor would thread the needle with a beautiful pass up the seam to Brandon Tate to tie the game.
Sean McDermott showed some real anger for the first time that I have seen on the sideline when Tyrod Taylor was shoved slightly late out of bounds. I was hoping I would see him pull a T.O. impression in the post game press conference and say "That's my quarterback." while being all teary eyed. The teams ended the half tied 10 to 10.
6 hours of isolation before the game leading to potential lasting psychiatric damage
BUF 10 - CIN 10
The Bills received to start the second half but punted the ball right back to the Bengals. A.J. Green wasn't done handing out favors to the Bills secondary though. Another ball bounced off of his hands and was intercepted by Jordan Poyer who brought the ball down to the Bengals 36. Tyrod Taylor scrambled on third and 10 and got the first down but holding was called on Dion Dawkins, nullifying the play and knocking the Bills out of field goal range.
Green must have had money on the Bills because for the third time in 16 plays he would assist the Bills in a turnover. He was tackled hard by Lorenzo Alexander after a reception and fumbled the ball to Jordan Poyer. Buffalo would move the ball into field goal range and Steven Hauschka hit a 38 yarder to give the Bills their first lead of the afternoon with two minutes left in the third quarter.
At the end of the third quarter A.J. Green left the field appearing hurt. My hopes for victory had sky rocketed. Unfortunately, he came right back in the fourth quarter, just like that annoying fruit fly that I have still yet to kill. Joe Mixon ran for a touchdown after another long A.J. Green catch to give the Bengals a 17 to 13 lead.
The Bills next drive would stall partly because a LeSean McCoy 44 yard run was called back for holding on tight end Logan Thomas. The following drive for the Bills started off well when Brandon Tate returned a punt down to the Cincinnati 24 yard line. The Bengals got an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the play and so the Bills started 1st and 10 at their 12 yard line. Buffalo wasn't able to score a touchdown and instead made it a one point game at 17 to 16 in favor of the Bengals.
The Bills would use the remainder of their timeouts trying to stop the Bengals but Cincinnati was able to manage a field goal on that drive to take a 20 to 16 lead. Buffalo had one last shot with the ball and no timeouts. Their drive went nowhere, lasting only three plays and ending with an interception by George Iloka.
1 Broken heart
2 Weeks of hearing about how bad the offense is and how the Bills should replace Tyrod Taylor begin on twitter. Just shoot me now.