Bengals Week 13 Grades: at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Nov 30, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis talks with Cincinnati Bengals outside linebacker Emmanuel Lamur (59) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Cincinnati Bengals defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 14-13. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Safeties: B+
Reggie Nelson had five tackles and one assists along with one pass deflection, while George Iloka had his least productive game in recent weeks with one tackles and three assist. They didn’t allow much to get past them and they played a key role in the final Buccaneers possession keeping the receivers from getting deep and making a big play to change the outcome.

Cornerbacks: A+
Terrance Newman got his first interception of the season and accounted for two of the five recorded pass deflections. Adam Jones made some key plays to break up passes, as well as jumping a route near the end of the game to break up a pass that would have pushed the Buccaneers into field goal range with time remaining.

Linebackers: A-
Emmanuel Lemur has a tackle for a loss and they kept Doug Martin to minimal yards in the second half, after he gained 55 yards in the first half. They combine for 13 total tackles and one for a loss. They also helped to shut down the passing game in the middle of the field, which proved to be key in holding the Buccaneers to 263 total yards.

Defensive Line: A
Carlos Dunlap led the team with half a sack, three tackles for loss, and 7 total tackles. They got to Josh McCown early and often forcing him into throws that were questionable. They were the key in the second half hold once the Bengals took the lead to hold onto it.

Coaching: A-
I question the onside kick decision and it almost proved very costly, but one thing is for sure, Marvin Lewis made the call of the game and career when he got the replay officials attention by throwing the challenge flag with less than a minute left in the game. The Buccaneers fielded 12 men and it erased a huge 20+ yard catch setting up a short field goal situation. Instead, it turned into a 2nd and 20 on the 46 yard line and Tampa Bay never recovered turning over on downs with one second remaining.

The Bengals will have to do better as they return home off 3-0 road trip to face division rival, Pittsburgh Steelers. The Bengals were fortunate that every other AFC North team lost their matchups and they now hold a game and a half over the division. The control their destiny and will take a shot at a return to the post season for the fourth year in a row.