BENGALS GAMEDAY: Photos, analysis, video highlights, stats, quotes* * *
Posted: 6:45 a.m.
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. - For one brief, shining moment, it looked like Bengals special teams coach Darrin Simmons would gain sweet redemption against the Bills' No. 1-ranked specialists that had fueled victories over the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium in 2004 and 2005.
But five penalties on punts (two that were accepted and one that was offset) overshadowed wide receiver Glenn Holt's 100-yard kick return late that gave the Bengals a 14-10 lead with 1:44 left in the first half in what became a 33-21 loss.
It looked like the Bengals were going to beat the Bills at their own game. They held Terrence McGee, one of only 10 men in history with five career kick returns for touchdowns, to just 82 yards on three kicks and knocked the NFL's leading punt returner out of the game after allowing Roscoe Parrish just 18 yards on two returns.
Cornerback Blue Adams was called for two of them. The first came early in the second half, a late hit that moved the Bills from their 28 to their 43 to start a drive that ended in Rian Lindell's 29-yard field goal that wiped out the Bengals' 14-13 halftime lead.
The second one came with 10 minutes left in the game and the Bengals leading, 21-19, and it came off Kyle Larson's 36-yard punt out of the end zone into the wind. Not only was Adams called for a hold, but linebacker Corey Mays was called for being illegally downfield and rookie safety Marvin White was called for going out of bounds.
"It's all suspect in my eye," said Adams when asked if he was suspect about the late hit. "I'm on defense (on the hold) and he called it. That's just the way it is. I have to do better. That's the bottom line.
"I'm just trying to make plays. I guess I'm a little too aggressive. It's just bad ball put on tape. There's nothing you can really say."
The first penalty probably wouldn't have hurt the Bengals. When the Bills were called for running into the punter early in the second quarter on a fourth-and-seven from the Buffalo 49, the Bengals were also called for an illegal formation, but that still would have made it fourth-and-two.
The penalties on the last punt revealed the Bengals' inexperience on special teams compared to a Buffalo unit ranked No. 1 in the NFL in the kicking game the past two seasons. Adams, in his first season with the Bengals, missed all of training camp with an injured neck. White is a rookie and Mays was just in his third Bengals game after getting picked up on waivers Oct. 2.
But Holt gave his team a jolt with the first special teams return for a score under Simmons and the second longest kick return in Bengals history after Eric Bienemy's 102-yarder against the Giants in 1997..
Of course, Holt literally couldn't even smile after this one. In the celebration, he knocked helmets with linebacker Dhani Jones and knocked out his two front teeth.
"My teammates did a great job for me; everybody did their job," Holt said. "And I did my job. I stretched it, saw the hole, and hit it."
Nobody touched Holt as he bolted up the middle and made a move on Lindell, cutting to his left.
"That's the move he didn't make last week against Pittsburgh," Simmons said. "He didn't get past the kicker, but it's something we work on. (Bengals kicker) Shayne Graham gives us a great look on it."
The last kick return for a touchown came from Brandon Bennett on a 94-yarder during a 2002 loss in Baltimore.