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Buffalo Bills Squander Big Lead, Lose to Bengals

The Buffalo Bills has become one of the best stories of the 2011 season, thanks in part to their second-half comebacks, but on Sunday the script was reversed.

The Bills built a nice 17-3 lead by halftime, but struggled in the second half and a Mike Nugent field goal at the buzzer, handed the team from Western New York, their first loss of 2011, 23-20.

While this isn’t the end of the world for Buffalo, it does put a small damper on the terrific start to the year. This could be a game, when you look back at the end of the year, as one that really hurts the Bills and their playoff chances.

John Grieshop/Getty Images

Buffalo (3-1) will have to really turn things around quick, as struggling Philadelphia (1-3) comes to the Ralph next weekend.

When they watch the tape, the Bills players will be kicking themselves for only scoring three points in the second half and allowing Bengals rookie Andy Dalton to engineer the type of comeback that Buffalo had been trademarking the last two weeks.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Bills players and fans may also look back to a call that seemed to be missed, midway through the fourth quarter, when Stevie Johnson looked to corral a pass, but the play was ruled incomplete.

The replays seem to show that Johnson was able to control the pass as he was being tackled, but even after the play was reviewed, the call stood, which forced the Bills to punt.

Dalton led the Bengals down the field for the game-tying touchdown and when the Bills punted again, the rookie from TCU led Cincinnati down the field far enough to get into Nugent’s range.

You know Ryan Fitzpatrick wanted this game to because he used to play in Cincinnati, as a backup to Carson Palmer.

The Bills played much differently in the second half of this game. It seemed as if they were just trying to protect the lead, instead of trying to run their offense and keep the pedal on the metal.

If you thought you recognized the voice on the call of the game, that was WNYT’s Andrew Catalon, who was filling in for Bill Macatee. Catalon was calling the game with former Buffalo Bills great Steve Tasker.

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