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


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


”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.