A back-and-forth battle in Detroit ended with Bengals kicker Mike Nugent drilling a 54-yard field goal as time expired, giving Cincinnati a hard-fought 27-24 win over the Lions.
The story of the day was that two of the best receivers in the NFL both put on a show. Cincinnati’s A.J. Green caught six passes for 155 yards and one touchdown, while Detroit’s Calvin Johnson caught nine passes for 155 yards and two touchdowns. Both players were outstanding, although both also benefited from some bad pass coverage: The Lions had some big breakdowns in the secondary, while the Bengals lost their top cornerback, Leon Hall, to an Achilles injury in the first quarter.
The young quarterbacks on both teams had outstanding numbers: Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton completed 24 of 34 passes for 374 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions, while Detroit’s Matthew Stafford completed 28 of 51 passes for 357 yards, also with three touchdowns and no interceptions. But neither quarterback was great; both missed some throws and underthrew their star receivers at times. It says a lot about Green and Johnson that they can put up phenomenal numbers even on days when their quarterbacks are misfiring.
For the Bengals, the win improves their record to 5-2 and keeps them atop the AFC North. For the Lions, the loss drops them to 4-3 and puts them in the middle of a very competitive race in the NFC. This was a big game for both teams, and the Bengals were the ones who got the big play from their kicker at the end.