Cincinnati Bengals Survive Detroit Lions and Stake Claim to AFC North

Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals are riding high after a last second win at the Detroit Lions.
Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals are riding high after a last second win at the Detroit Lions.

The Cincinnati Bengals held on against the Detroit Lions on Ford Field on Sunday to advance to 4-2 on the year and further extend their lead in the AFC North division. The 27-24 win was not as pretty as coach Marvin Lewis and company would have hoped, but a win is a win. They all count the same in the NFL, especially against quality opponents.

Strangely enough, the score of 27-24 was the exact same score for the Cincinnati Bengals as last week’s victory over the Buffalo Bills. Both games ended in similar fashion as well, Mike Nugent drilled a game winning field goal with time winding away. This week it was a 54 yard kick as the clock expired.

At 4-2, the Cincinnati Bengals now have a two game lead in the AFC North over both the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Ravens. Both second place teams dropped their week seven contests. Baltimore lost to Pittsburgh while the Brows were outgunned against Green Bay.

For AJ Green the game was special. Not only did he connect on an 82 yard touchdown reception that was the career long for both himself and quarterback Andy Dalton, but he did it against his mentor Calvin ‘Megatron‘ Johnson. He would bring in five other passes on the day and finish with 155 yards (the exact same as Megatron) and the touchdown. Not a bad effort at all for the rising star.

The stars of HBO’s Hard Knocks in training camp, the Cincinnati Bengals have lived up to the hype they earned as a result of that appearance. A sexy dark horse Super Bowl prediction (yours truly made that very pick) this team is now beginning to look the part of a contender.

“I love how confident everyone always is,” Nugent said after winning the game for the second straight week. “Nobody freaks out. I think it all begins with [Marvin Lewis] because he and his staff don’t get too high or too low.”

Riding a hot streak of three straight wins, one of which came against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, everything seems to be going right in Cincinnati. The Bengals only bad news Sunday was that cornerback Leon Hall was likely lost for the season with an Achilles’s tendon injury.

A huge name to lose, the Bengals were able to stomach a monster 155 yard two touchdown outing by Megatron and still escape with a victory. They likely won’t face a receiver of his caliber again this year, making it a little easier to play a corner down. In his place Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones likely will take over the starting role. Terence Newman is the other starting corner.

Healthy on offense and still with plenty of playmakers on defense, the Cincinnati Bengals are leaving Detroit on a three game streak and have an increasingly comfortable division lead. Things are looking up for the once bottom feeding franchise. They look like the real deal as we approach the half way mark of this NFL campaign.

Charlie Gille

Senior Sports Editor

The Guardian Express

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