Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Nate Clements (22) breaks up a pass intended for Buffalo Bills receiver Brad Smith (16) in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2011, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/David Kohl)

Bengals-Bills Halftime Update

After the half, the Buffalo Bills lead the Cincinnati Bengals 17-3.

The Bengals defense held up well, forcing the Bills to punt on five of their first six drives. In the middle of the second quarter, the Bils only had a field goal, largely due to a fluke deflection 24-yard reception that kept the Bills drive alive.

The teams exchanged punts for most of the half, but when Andy Dalton threw a pass slightly behind Andre Caldwell, it was deflected by Caldwell’s feet, where Bills defender Brian Scott picked the ball out of the air and returned it for a touchdown.

2 plays later, Dalton completed a nice 58-yard bomb to AJ Green, where the ball was underthrown but Green made an athletic grab over the cornerback, catching it behind the corner’s head. On the next play, a low pass by Dalton was dropped by Benson in what could have been a screen play for huge yards. Then Dalton made a poor decision and threw to Caldwell over the middle when the corner had clearly better postion than Caldwell. Dalton made a rookie mistake here.

With 3 minutes left, the Bills drove down the field quickly. Fred Jackson ran for 21 yards, then Nickel Cornerback Kelly Jennings was turned around by WR Steve Johnson for a 44-yard completion. Jennings saved the touchdown on the play with a nice tackle, but Fred Jackson walked in on the next play, giving the Bills a 17-3 lead.

The offense needs to improve dramatically, and the defense needs to prevent big plays.

Andrew Hawkins was active today as the team’s 5th wide receiver and had a nice 25-yard screen run where he showed great quickness. Mike McGlynn is starting in place of rookie Clint Boling, and has allowed a few pass disruptions. Cedric Benson started at runningback, with his 3-game suspension still up in the air. WR Jerome Simpson is also playing, with the investigation of the drug bust at his household still in progress.

 

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