|Date of game: 11/30/2014
Recap: Tampa Bay vs. Cincinnati
Tampa, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Andy Dalton had one touchdown through the air and one on the ground and the Cincinnati Bengals held on for a 14-13 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.
Dalton also had three interceptions and went 19-for-27 for just 176 yards as the Bengals (8-3-1) went 3-0 during a three-game road swing to stay atop the AFC North.
"Any time you get a win it's big," said Dalton. "Obviously you want to play better but a win is a win no matter how you get it."
Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Baltimore all lost on Sunday to sit in a three-way tie in the division with marks of 7-5.
Josh McCown went 15-for-29 for 190 yards with an interception, and Doug Martin had a rushing touchdown for the Buccaneers (2-10), who have dropped their past two games and fell to 0-6 at home this season.
"That's how 2-10 football teams play, they find a way to lose the game at the end," said Tampa Bay head coach Lovie Smith. "We did some good things defensively and made some plays, but when you make dumb stupid penalties throughout the game they wind up biting you in the end."
Trailing by three, Cincinnati went on top for the first time in the game on its second touch of the second half.
Facing 3rd-and-6, Dalton connected with James Wright for 12 yards to move the chains, and Dalton converted another third down later in the drive with a 15- yard connection to Mohamed Sanu. That moved the ball to the Tampa 15, and two plays later Dalton found A.J. Green in the end zone for a 13-yard score and a 14-10 lead with 2:04 to play in the third.
The Bengals then went for on an onsides kick, but the Buccaneers recovered to give themselves excellent field position and the Bengals' 31.
They only moved seven yards, though, and a 42-yard field goal from Patrick Murray made it a one-point game early in the fourth.
After five straight punts, the Buccaneers got one last chance at their own 20 with 2:01 to play.
Mike Evans caught an 8-yard pass on 3rd-and-3 to move the chains, and a short catch by Bobby Rainey was turned into a 29-yard gain down to the Bengals' 36. An exchange of penalties left the Bucs in a 1st-and-15 with 38 seconds left.
After an incomplete pass, McCown connected with Louis Murphy for 21 yards to the Cincinnati 20 and the team hurried to the line of scrimmage with the clock winding down.
Bengals coach Marvin Lewis threw the challenge flag to get the attention of the referee, but all replays inside of two minutes have to be initiated by the officiating crew, who wound up looking over the play and determined that Tampa Bay had 12 men on the field, nullifying the play and leaving the team with a 2nd-and-20 at the Cincinnati 46.
"I couldn't challenge it and should have just called a timeout and made them look at it," said Lewis. "That's a big miss, we were trying to match up the personnel and there was one too many."
McCown's next two passes fell incomplete, and Evans' catch on fourth down came up well short of the first down marker as the Bengals held on for the win.
The first snap of the game saw Dalton picked off by Jonathan Banks, who returned the ball 32 yards to the Cincinnati 9.
"I'm not going to make excuses for the way things start out and it's obviously not the way you want things to start out," said Dalton.
Cincinnati's defense, though, held the Buccaneers, who came away with just three points off a Murray 32-yard field goal 2 1/2 minutes into the game.
The next several drives ended in punts, but Tampa Bay had the ball in Cincinnati territory to start the second quarter, and went on top when Martin bulled his way in from seven yards out for a 10-0 lead three minutes in.
On the ensuing drive, the Bengals got into the red zone, but Dalton had a pass picked off in the end zone by Brandon Dixon.
The Buccaneers went nowhere after the turnover and had to punt, with the Bengals getting the ball back at their own 36.
After crossing midfield and facing a 1st-and-10 at the Tampa 38, Dalton lateraled to his left for Sanu, who tossed a pass back to his right for an 11-yard gain by Green.
A 14-yard run from Giovani Bernard got the ball down to the Tampa 6, and two plays later, Dalton faked a handoff to Bernard and kept the ball himself for a 5-yard score with 1:08 to play in the half.Game Notes
Bernard had 49 yards on 10 carries, while teammate Jeremy Hill had 40 yards on
13 carries ... Martin finished the game with 58 yards on 18 touches ...
Cincinnati hosts Pittsburgh next Sunday ... The Buccaneers play in Detroit
next Sunday ... Tampa Bay had won six straight against Cincinnati coming into