Orchard Park, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Mike Nugent kicked a 43-yard field goal with 6:44 remaining in overtime to lift the Cincinnati Bengals to a 27-24 win over the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
Nugent missed a field goal late in the third quarter that could have given the Bengals a 17-point lead.
Behind quarterback Thad Lewis, recently promoted from the practice squad to start for injured rookie EJ Manuel, the Bills rallied to force overtime. Lewis, making his second career NFL start, threw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes, the latter a 40-yard downfield strike to rookie wide receiver Marquise Goodwin with 68 seconds remaining.
The Bengals got the ball to begin overtime and marched into Buffalo territory before a 30-yard Kevin Huber punt pinned the Bills at the 7-yard line.
No magic this time by Lewis as the Bills went three-and-out. Brandon Tate returned Brian Moorman's punt 29 yards to the Buffalo 33. After three consecutive running plays, Nugent nailed the game-winning kick.
Andy Dalton completed 26-of-40 passes for 337 yards with three touchdowns and one interception for Cincinnati, which sits atop the AFC North with a 4-2 record.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis had 86 yards on 18 carries for the Bengals, who posted their first win in Buffalo since 1985, snapping a six-game skid.
Lewis, who suffered a sprained foot, finished with 216 yards on 19-of-32 passing and added a rushing touchdown in the first quarter for Buffalo (2-4).
"We did some things that are encouraging, but at the same time, we didn't do enough things to win the game," said Buffalo head coach Doug Marrone.
It wasn't the best start to the second half for Lewis, who fumbled on the opening drive of the third quarter. Dalton followed up the turnover with a 10- yard touchdown pass to wideout Marvin Jones.
The Bengals appeared to go up 27-10 on a Nugent field goal after a 4th-and-15 conversion, but a holding penalty wiped out the three points. Bumped back 10 yards, Nugent missed wide right from 34 yards.
Still down only two touchdowns, the Bills closed the gap to 24-17 when Lewis, facing a 4th-and-8 from the Cincinnati 22, found a wide-open target in tight end Scott Chandler for a score with 10:13 remaining in the fourth quarter.
"Obviously, we've got an opportunity to put the game out of reach and we kind of failed to capitalize on that," said Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis. "And then defensively, we gave up the big plays there; two big plays, we've got a fourth chance to stop them on fourth down and we don't."
Big plays were prevalent on Cincinnati's first three possessions.
A 34-yard run by Jones on a reverse put the Bengals in Buffalo territory, but the game's opening drive stalled and Nugent kicked a 46-yard field goal.
Jones struck again on the next offensive series, gaining 42 yards on a screen pass. The catch-and-run helped set up wide receiver A.J. Green's 18-yard touchdown reception. Dalton had gone two straight games without a TD pass.
After the defensive unit made a goal-line stand, the Bengals went back to the screen game. Green took a short toss and galloped 54 yards to the Buffalo 31. Dalton then capped the 98-yard march by finding rookie running back Giovani Bernard with a shovel pass for a dipsy-doodle touchdown of 20 yards, extending Cincinnati's lead to 17-7 with 8:34 remaining in the second quarter.
The Bills were just as adept at moving the ball early in the contest.
Thad Lewis finished off Buffalo's first drive with a 3-yard touchdown run to put the home team up 7-3. He set up the score by hitting wideout T.J. Graham on a 47-yard pass down the sideline and then moved the Bills even closer by drawing an unnecessary roughness penalty on a scramble.
Now trailing 10-7, Buffalo continually gashed the Cincinnati defense with the running game and was primed to reach the end zone at the start of the second quarter.
However, three unsuccessful cracks from inside the 2-yard line left Marrone with a decision to make. He opted to go for the touchdown and Buffalo came away with no points when Lewis was sacked on an attempted scramble.
The Bills did trim their deficit to 17-10 on Dan Carpenter's 51-yard field goal with 4:14 to go before halftime.
Cincinnati was back in Buffalo territory on the ensuing drive following a 25- yard run by Green-Ellis. Tired of allowing so many big plays, the Bills defense finally made one when safety Jim Leonhard picked off a Dalton pass. His 41-yard return placed the ball at the Cincinnati 38, but the Bills were forced to punt.
Dalton has thrown an interception in four straight games ... The Bengals racked up 483 yards of offense, while the Bills amassed 322 yards ... Carpenter became the first Bills kicker since Mike Hollis in 2002 with field goals of 50-plus yards in consecutive games. Carpenter nailed a 52-yarder in Week 5 ... The Bills were without wide receiver Stevie Johnson (back), but cornerback Stephon Gilmore (wrist) and safety Jairus Byrd (foot) both made their season debuts for Buffalo ... Bengals cornerback Leon Hall returned after missing the last two games with a hamstring injury.