Sometimes, the challenges you don’t actually have help the most.
The Bengals escaped with a 14-13 win at Tampa Bay, thanks to a bold call by Bengals coach Marvin Lewis.
It was nearly the only thing that went right for his team on the day.
The Bengals survived a three-interception first half by quarterback Andy Dalton, but actually took a 14-10 lead in the third quarter when Dalton hit A.J. Green for a 13-yard touchdown pass.
They then chose a surprise onsides kick, but the Bucs recovered, and were able to get a field goal to close the gap to one.
But as the Bengals offense faltered, the Bucs appeared to have a chance to win the game with a late drive.
Bengals coach Marvin Lewis threw a challenge flag he didn’t have, costing himself a timeout. But the stoppage of play allowed the refs to realize the Buccaneers had 12 men on the field, negating a 21-yard pass play which would have set up a chip shot game-winner.
Instead, the Bucs had a desperate fourth-and-20 try which was well short, allowing the Bengals to kill the game.
The win moves the Bengals to 8-3-1 on a rough day for their division, although this one had plenty of warts.
The Buccaneers fell to 2-10, which ought to take care of their faint playoff hopes.