Bills 49, Bengals 31

Down 31-14 at halftime, the one-win Buffalo Bills got angry.

Angry at the officials for giving Cincinnati another play to
kick a field goal. Angry at themselves for getting in such a big
hole in front of such a small crowd.

Angry enough to pull off their best comeback in 13 years.

Ryan Fitzpatrick matched his career high with four touchdown
passes, and the Bills rallied for their second straight win on
Sunday, 49-31 over the bumbling Cincinnati Bengals.

”We could’ve easily folded out tent,” said cornerback Drayton
Florence, who returned a fumble 27 yards during the comeback. ”It
looked like they folded their tents on their sideline.”

Buffalo (2-8) took advantage of Cincinnati’s depleted secondary
for its biggest comeback since it overcame a 26-0 deficit and
topped the Colts 37-35 on Sept. 21, 1997, according to STATS LLC.
The turning point came at the end of the first half, when the clock
ran out but the officials ruled Cincinnati had called timeout with
1 second to go.

The Bengals (2-8) used that restored second to kick a field goal
for that huge cushion. The Bills complained to the officials while
running off the field, then vented to each other.

”In the locker room at halftime, it was louder than what their
stadium was the entire game,” safety Donte Whitner said.

Fitzpatrick took advantage of a defense down to four healthy
defensive backs by game’s end. Steve Johnson caught three of his
touchdown passes, including an 11-yarder that put Buffalo ahead
35-31 early in the fourth quarter. Johnson finished with eight
catches for 137 yards.

”It was awesome,” Fitzpatrick said. ”Everybody believed the
whole game. This was a big win for us. Once you get that first one,
everything falls into place.”

With the collapse, the Bengals secured their 18th non-winning
record in the last 20 years. The only bright side: Cincinnati fans
didn’t get to see it on local television. The Bengals failed to
sell out a home game for the first time since 2003, when coach
Marvin Lewis was in his first season.

”We are terrible,” receiver Terrell Owens said, taking off his
sunglasses for emphasis. ”And I don’t blame the fans for booing
us. I don’t blame people for not wanting to come and see the
performance we’ve put up the last (seven) ballgames.”

The futility was felt all-around. One fan in a Bengals jersey
wore a bag over his head that said ”Bungles.” Next to him sat a
fan in an old Doug Flutie Bills jersey, wearing a bag over his head
that said ”Jills.”

Leading up to the game, Owens had dubbed it ”the battle of the
worst.” On this day, Cincinnati earned the distinction.

It was the Bengals’ biggest collapse since November 12, 2006,
when they led San Diego 28-7 at Paul Brown Stadium and lost 49-41,
according to STATS.

”One for the books,” offensive lineman Bobbie Williams called
it.

Fitzpatrick’s homecoming got off to a miserable start – three
first-half interceptions, though one of them was nullified by a
penalty. He was Carson Palmer’s backup for two years, before the
Bengals let him go.

Once he settled down, he outplayed his mentor. Fitzpatrick was
21 of 34 for 316 yards and his second four-touchdown game of the
season. He has thrown touchdown passes in 11 consecutive games, the
longest streak by a Bills quarterback since Flutie did it 12
straight games in 1999.

By contrast, Palmer threw two interceptions during the
second-half fade, including one in the end zone as he tried to get
the ball to Owens. Palmer was 19 of 34 for 230 yards with two
touchdowns – to Owens and Chad Ochocinco – and the two
interceptions.

”Terrible. I have no answers for you. I have no sound bites for
you,” Owens said, with an edge to his voice. ”All I know is right
now, we are terrible. And maybe it is – everybody wants to blame
me. It’s my fault. Maybe I’m bad luck. But at this point, it’s just
unthinkable. Unbelievable.”

Owens and Ochocinco dubbed themselves Batman and Robin before
the season, expecting superhero numbers. Johnson had some fun with
it, writing ”Why So Serious?” – a line from a ”Batman” movie –
on the front of the shirt under his jersey.

Johnson pulled up his jersey to show the expression to the crowd
after one of his touchdowns.

”I was having fun with it,” he said. ”They play the Batman
and Robin thing, so I wanted to come in and be the Joker.”

Notes: The Bills extended their streak to 10 straight wins over
the Bengals, matching the longest in their history. They also beat
the Jets 10 straight game from 1987-92. … RB Fred Jackson ran for
116 yards and two touchdowns. … Bengals CB Johnathan Joseph had
two interceptions, including a 21-yard return for a touchdown in
the first half that made it 28-7. He hurt his ankle and missed the
second half. … Safeties Roy Williams (concussion) and Chris
Crocker (right knee) also left in the first half.