CINCINNATI, Ohio – The Cincinnati Bengals rallied in the fourth quarter to prevail over the Detroit Lions 26-17 at Paul Brown Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Detroit entered the game as a 3-point favorite over its AFC counterparts in what many observers expect to be Coach Marvin Lewis’ final home game in Cincinnati after 15 seasons at the Bengals’ helm.
The setback means the Lions cannot make the playoffs this season.
On Sunday, Detroit and Cincy traded possessions until 4:54 remained in the first quarter when Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford hit tight end Eric Ebron with a perfectly thrown 13-yard touchdown pass for a 7-0 advantage, a score that stood until the initial break.
In the second stanza, the two teams started out swapping possessions again until midway through the period when the Bengals’ Randy Bullock booted a 29-yard field goal to trim the deficit to 7-3 with 7:35 to go until intermission.
Bullock added another field goal — a 27-yarder as time elapsed in the first half to set the halftime count at 7-6.
The Lions came out of the locker room and scored on Matt Prater’s 23-yard field goal with 9:26 left in the third quarter for a 10-6 bulge.
Cincinnati vaulted into its first lead at 13-10 when quarterback Andy Dalton connected with tight end C.J. Uzomah on a 1-yard TD pass at the 5:52 juncture of the third. The margin remained at 3 points in the Bengals’ favor at the end of the third frame.
Bullock tacked on his third field goal — this time a 35-yarder — to give Cincinnati a 16-10 advantage with 14:13 remaining to play in the contest.
Stafford then drove the Lions right back downfield and Tion Green scored when he ran over left tackle for a 5-yard touchdown and a 17-16 edge for Detroit with 9:49 to go. The rookie running back played his college football at the University of Cincinnati.
Bullock then hammered home his fourth field goal — a 51-yarder with 4:42 showing on the clock — and his longest in 2 years to reclaim control for the Bengals at 19-17.
Cincinnati took a 26-17 advantage on an 11-yard scoring run by Giovani Bernard with 1:54 left to set the final score.
The Lions are now 8-7 going into their season finale – a home date with the longtime rival Green Bay Packers at 1 p.m. next Sunday at Ford Field in Detroit.
The Bengals now stand 6-9 entering a road game with the Baltimore Ravens to wrap up their season next Sunday afternoon.