The best way to describe the Cincinnati Bengals this season is clutch. They are making a name for themselves in the NFL in 2013 with their late-game heroics. This is not the first time they have been known for earning clutch wins either. The Bengals have a tendency to be a clutch team, and it has even earned them the nickname Cardiac Cats.
Sunday was nothing new as they traveled to New York to take on the Buffalo Bills.
The Bengals had a two-touchdown lead with 11 minutes left in the game. They looked to be in control, knowing they would get the win. Then, little-known quarterback Thad Lewis happened. They seemed to have him in check until this point. Lewis helped his Bills offense come alive. With the help of some breakdowns in the Bengals’ coverage, the Bills made some big plays and scored a couple of touchdowns to tie it with only 1:08 left in the game.
Everybody knew the game should’ve been over. It never should’ve gotten to this point. The Bengals never should’ve let the Bills tie it. It never should’ve gone into overtime, but it did. This has been the Bengals’ way this season, so why should fans expect any different?
The Bengals ended up taking the game in overtime on a game-winning 43-yard field goal by kicker Mike Nugent. It was a win that was not without plenty of drama, hence the Cardiac Cats.
Their last three wins have come in the clutch, though the win over the Bills on Sunday was the first one that had gone into overtime since 2009. Last week in their win over the New England Patriots, they stopped a potential game-winning drive by Tom Brady with an interception by cornerback Adam Jones. It sealed the win for the Bengals with 16 seconds left in the game.
Three weeks ago in their win over the Green Bay Packers, the Bengals forced a fumble on fourth down and recovered it, running it in for a touchdown that gave them the lead. The Bengals then sealed the game on their next defensive series when defensive end Michael Johnson batted down a pass from Aaron Rodgers on fourth down.
The Bengals could’ve even earned a clutch win in their season opener against the Chicago Bears also if it wasn’t for Rey Maualuga’s personal foul after a third-down stop that gave the Bears a first down. They were able to do kneel-downs until time expired, not giving the Bengals the chance to get the ball back for a potential game-winning score.
This type of clutch play has worked for the Bengals so far this season. At least their fans know they can earn clutch wins if they have to, but it shouldn’t always be that way. They need to learn how to keep a lead and not have to earn it back. They are, however, making a name for themselves and winning. Isn’t that all any team should want?