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Bills improve to 3-0 with gutsy 21-17 win over Bengals in home-opener

Buffalo Bills

Cincinnati Bengals’ Dre Kirkpatrick (27) tackles Buffalo Bills’ Frank Gore (20) during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Aug. 26, 2018, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WROC) — It was a tale of two halves, but the Bills came through and got a 21-17 win over the Bengals in their first home game of the season.

The Bills improved to 3-0 while the Bengals dropped to 0-3. Josh Allen was 23-36 with 243 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. He also added 46 rushing yards on nine carries.

Before the action even started a touching tribute had Bills Mafia on their feet. During pregame the Pegulas honored superfan Pancho Billa and his family.

The first half was all Buffalo. A Dawson Knox touchdown reception, a successful two point conversion, and a pair fields goals from kicker Stephen Hauschka gave the Bills a comfortable 14-0 lead.

The energy at the stadium helped fuel a Bills defense that absolutely stifled the Bengals in the first half. At the time of the two-minute warning, the Bengals had zero first downs.

However, some costly mistakes prevented the Bills from stretching their lead further than 14. In the second quarter, Buffalo turned the ball over after a TJ Yeldon fumble, and lucked out on another fumble by Allen that the referees ruled out of bounds before the Bengals recovered. Still …

The Bills held huge advantages in major statistical categories through two quarters. At the halftime break they had more first downs (18-2), more yards (257-77), and more time of possession (22:57-7:03).

The Bengals showed some life on offense to start the third quarter, but their drive ended abruptly following an interception by Tre White.

However, the Bills gave it right back. Josh Allen threw an interception and a few plays later Bengals QB Andy Dalton scored on a 2-yard run which made it a one-score game.

That 14-7 score didn’t last long though. The Bills couldn’t get anything going and when the Bengals got the ball back they went on an 11-play 82-yard drive that resulted in a 1-yard touchdown pass from Dalton to running back Joe Mixon. A successful extra point tied the game up 14-14 with 12 minutes remaining in the game.

After another short drive by the Bills, the Bengals got the ball back and marched down the field. Buffalo was able to keep Cincinnati out of the endzone, but couldn’t keep them off the scoreboard. A 43-year field goal by Randy Bullock with 4:53 remaining in the game put the Bengals ahead 17-14 for their first lead of the game.

Mostly dormant in the second half, the Bills offense came through when it mattered most. A 1-yard touchdown run by Frank Gore capped off a seven-play 78-yard drive to put the Bills back up 21-17 with only 1:50 left to play.

The Bengals pushed the ball down the field to make it interesting, but Tre White got a game-sealing interception to make it 3-0 on the season.

Check back with News 8 WROC at 7:45 p.m. where Thad Brad Brown will host Bills Gameday Recap live from New Era Field.

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