The Buffalo Bills almost scored an impressive win Sunday, going toe-to-toe with the Cincinnati Bengals with Thaddeus Lewis behind center for the injured E.J. Manuel. The Bills ultimately lost in overtime, giving up a long punt return to set the Bengals up for a game-winning field goal. Though the Bills had a few positive takeaways from the game, the folks at Bills blog Buffalo Rumblings pointed to special teams coordinator Danny Crossman as one of the goats of the game.
Goat of the Game
Special teams coordinator Danny Crossman seems ripe for the picking now that his punt coverage units have given up critical plays in consecutive weeks. Leodis McKelvin quietly gave up two Bengals touchdown passes yesterday, as well. We're certain Marrone will be mentioned a few times thanks to critical in-game decisions that didn't go his way.
The takeaways for the Bengals were much more positive. The offense shined at times, putting less stress on what have been very good special teams and defensive units this season. Rookie running back Giovani Bernard was one of the Bengals' biggest stars, especially in the passing game. Josh Kirkendall at Bengals blog Cincy Jungle called Bernard the "next great receiving back."
The modern running back is more than just a runner. Examples of this includes Jamaal Charles, Matt Forte, and Darren Sproles, who are running backs that are ranked in the top-20 among all players in receptions this year.
Giovani Bernard hasn't reached that level just yet, but he's currently fourth on the team with 20 receptions and fifth with 201 yards receiving. A.J. Green is the only Bengals player with more touchdown receptions (4) than Giovani, who scored his second against the Bills on Sunday.
The Bengals now sit atop the AFC North, and could remain there if the offense can keep its current momentum going. The Bills, meanwhile, seem to be on the verge of being a respectable team. If they can get healthy they may be able to steal a win or two that shouldn't have down the road.