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Bills stay unbeaten by rallying back to beat Bengals 21-17

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By JOHN WAWROW
AP Sports Writer

Players: Frank Gore, Andy Dalton, Randy Bullock, John Brown, Joe Mixon, Isaiah McKenzie, Josh Allen, Auden Tate, Dawson Knox

Buffalo Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White (27) celebrates after intercepting a pass during the second half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Orchard Park, N.Y. The Bills won 21-17. (AP Photo/John Munson)


Buffalo Bills running back Frank Gore (20) pushes past Cincinnati Bengals' Preston Brown (52) for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/John Munson)


Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) throws a pass for a touchdown to Joe Mixon during the second half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/John Munson)


Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) rushes for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/John Munson)


Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (28) rushes during the second half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)


Buffalo Bills' Kevin Johnson (29) tackles Cincinnati Bengals' Auden Tate (19) during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)


CORRECTS DATE - Buffalo Bills' Dawson Knox (88) celebrates with teammates Lee Smith (85) and Josh Allen (17) after scoring a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/John Munson)


CORRECTS DATE - Buffalo Bills' Dawson Knox, right, catches a pass for a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game as Cincinnati Bengals free safety Jessie Bates (30) watches Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)


ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) The mere sight of rookie tight end Dawson Knox bowling over one Bengals defender and shoving off another breathed life into a sputtering and sloppy Buffalo offense.

Knox's fearless and physical catch and rumble up the left sideline for a 49-yard gain to set up Frank Gore's decisive score with 1:50 left in rallying the Bills to a 21-17 home-opening win on Sunday also inspired their defense to rise up for one final challenge.

''Oh, he's a beast, man,'' safety Micah Hyde said of Knox, who opened the scoring with a 1-yard catch.

''When you're a defense and you see that stuff coming from the offense, I think everyone jumped off the bench and was excited,'' he added. ''The crowd went wild.''

Buffalo improved to 3-0 for the first time since 2011 and only third time in 26 years. The Bengals fell to 0-3.

It just so happened, Hyde had a hand in sealing the victory in a game the Bills squandered a 14-0 lead.

With Cincinnati facing third-and-5 at Buffalo's 28 and 20 seconds remaining, Hyde tipped Andy Dalton's pass intended for Auden Tate over the middle. The ball was then intercepted by Tre'Davious White, his second of the day.

''We won and that's all that matters,'' said White, referring to how the Bills were forced to come from behind after allowing the Bengals to score 17 points on three consecutive possessions spanning the third and fourth quarters. ''We're blessed.''

The Bengals responded a week after being blown out in a 41-17 home-opening loss to San Francisco. And yet, they still managed to come up short in a game their Andy Dalton-led offense combined for 90 yards and three first downs on its first nine possessions, then came alive.

''We dug ourselves a hole there in the first half, which is a killer,'' first-year coach Zac Taylor said. ''We're 0-3. It sucks. It feels terrible. But I'm confident in the guys in this room.''

Dalton went 20 of 36 for 249 yards with a 1-yard touchdown run, 1-yard touchdown pass to Joe Mixon and two interceptions. Mixon finally found his legs by finishing with 61 yards rushing, more than doubling the 27 yards he managed in his first two games. He also topped the Bengals' two-game total of 59 yards entering the game.

''We can't have the performance we had in the first half and expect to win,'' Dalton said.

The Bengals capped their 17-point surge and take the lead on Randy Bullock hitting a 43-yard field goal with 4:54 remaining.

Two plays into Buffalo's next possession, quarterback Josh Allen hit Knox, who was wide open at midfield near the left sideline. Spinning to run upfield, Knox bowled stiff-armed safety Shawn Williams out of the way, and then lowered his shoulder to bowl over Jessie Bates before finally being brought down William Jackson at the Bengals 22.

Knox chalked up the catch and run to instinct.

''As bigger guys, we don't have as many quick juke moves as a lot of guys like Isaiah McKenzie and `Smoke,''' he said referring to two Bills receivers, including John Brown. ''Sometimes you just have to lower the pads and get as many yards as you can.''

For Knox, the touchdown was his first since his junior high school season in Tennessee. Though he finished with just 39 catches and 605 yards in three years at Mississippi, the Bills thought enough in his receiving abilities to trade up to draft him 96th overall.

EJECTED

Bengals offensive tackle Bobby Hart was ejected for making contact with an official after White's game-sealing interception. The Bengals were upset because White was never touched down and eventually got up and ran through the back of the end zone.

The officials ruled the play had ended because White had already given himself up.

INCONSISTENT ALLEN

Allen finished 23 of 36 for 243 yards with a touchdown and interception. He was picked off while back-pedaling on third-and-7 and threw off his back foot. The weak pass was easily intercepted by Darius Phillips, who returned it to Buffalo's 22 and set up the Bengals first touchdown.

Allen was nearly picked off two more times and almost lost a fumble before being ruled he was out of bounds.

0-NO

Taylor, who took over after Marvin Lewis was fired this offseason, became the fifth of Cincinnati's 10 coaches to open his first season 0-3, and third in a row. The worst start by a first-year Bengals coach was Sam Wyche losing his first five in 1984.

HONORING PANCHO

The Bills honored late superfan Ezra "Pancho Billa" Castro during a pregame ceremony. Castro, a mortician from El Paso, Texas, regularly attended Bills games at home on the road, and died in May after a lengthy battle with cancer. Shortly after being diagnosed with cancer, the Bills honored Castro's wish by bringing him to Dallas to announce their third-round selection of defensive tackle Harrison Phillips at the 2018 NFL draft.

Phillips paid tribute to Castro by wearing a Bills-themed sombrero, which Castro made famous for wearing at games.

INJURIES

Bengals: none reported.

Bills: Starting right guard Jon Feliciano did not return after sustaining a neck injury in the first quarter.

UP NEXT

Bengals: prime-time matchup at Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 30.

Bills: host New England Patriots on Sept. 29.

Player Notes
Dak Prescott Sep 22 6:50pm ET

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott had a productive Week 3, throwing two touchdowns and running one in as well. Prescott completed 19 of his 32 passes for 246 yards. His passing touchdowns both went to Amari Cooper, one for five yards and another for 19. His rushing touchdown was on an eight-yard run in the third quarter. Overall, it was a solid performance for Prescott, although his owners may have expected even more with him taking on the listless Miami Dolphins.

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Saquon Barkley Sep 22 6:40pm ET

After leaving the game shortly before halftime with an ankle injury suffered against Tampa Bay, New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley returned to the sidelines with a protective boot on his right foot. While the results of his x-rays have not yet been released, Barkley was using crutches to get around on what appeared to be a severely sprained ankle. If this is the dreaded high-ankle sprain, Barkley could be in for an extended absence and his owners are in for an extended punch to the stomach. Backup Wayne Gallman needs to be added in all leagues until more is known about the severity of Barkley's injury.

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Frank Gore Sep 22 6:20pm ET

Buffalo Bills running back Frank Gore saved his best production for last, plunging in for a late one-yard touchdown to put Buffalo up for good over the Cincinnati Bengals 21-17 on Sunday. With Devin Singletary declared inactive prior to the game, Gore rushed 14 times for 76 yards, outpacing T.J. Yeldon who rushed eight times for thirty yards - and who also had a costly second-half fumble. With the likely return of Singletary in Week 4 and facing a Patriots teams that will likely require a pass-heavy game script, Gore will be relegated to the fantasy doldrums.

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New York Jets Sep 22 6:10pm ET

The New York Jets Defense got shredded by Tom Brady and the Patriots but salvaged their fantasy day late. With the Patriots up 30-7 in the fourth quarter backup quarterback Jarrett Stidham came into the game. His third pass hit Jamal Adams right between the numbers and the star safety returned it 61-yards for a garbage-time touchdown. The Jets also scored a touchdown on special teams after Gunner Olszewski muffed a punt and Arthur Maulet fell on it to score the Jets first touchdown since Week 1. Despite the scores, the Jets defense only recorded one sack and looked like a defense that shouldn't be owned in fantasy, especially with a bye in Week 4 followed by a tough matchup at Philadelphia.

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Josh Allen Sep 22 6:10pm ET

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen completed 22-of-36 passes for 243 yards on Sunday, with one touchdown and an interception as the Bills held off the Cincinnati Bengals for a 21-17 victory. Allen also added 46 yards on nine rushes and a two-point conversion, with Buffalo moving to a surprising 3-0 on the season. Allen still has trouble with his decision-making at times but continues to have a high floor considering how often he's willing to run. Allen and the Bills will get their first real test of the year in Week 4 when the Patriots come into town for a showdown of the AFC East undefeated.

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Saquon Barkley Sep 22 5:40pm ET

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley is questionable to return after suffering an ankle injury against the Tampa Bay Bucs. He suffered a minor injury earlier in the game but returned. This one appears to be more severe and with the Giants already down 25-10, they may choose not to rush their star back. This would obviously be a massive hit to the entire Giants offense if it proves to be a multi-week injury.

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Ryan Griffin Sep 22 5:40pm ET

New York Jets tight end Ryan Griffin caught his only target for five yards in a loss to the Patriots Sunday afternoon. Griffin now has four catches for 15 yards on the season and continues to be a non-factor in fantasy. Griffin had an opportunity to start with Chris Herndon serving a four-game suspension but has done nothing to prove he should be more than a blocking tight end when Herndon returns in Week 6. The Jets are on bye in Week 4 and Griffin will make one more start in Week 5 vs the Eagles but should not be owned in fantasy.

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Jamison Crowder Sep 22 5:20pm ET

New York Jets wide receiver Jamison Crowder made two catches for 25 yards Sunday afternoon against the Patriots. The Jets struggled to move the ball all afternoon with Luke Falk making his first career start as they had only 105 net yards against a strong Patriots Defense. Crowder made 14 catches in Week 1 but has only six since as starting QB Sam Darnold (mono) has been sidelined. The Jets will have a bye week next week and hope Darnold will be back for a game at Philadelphia in Week 5. If Darnold plays, Crowder is in the WR3 discussion in fantasy but it will be hard to trust him the Jets continue to trot out backup quarterbacks.

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Sam Ficken Sep 22 5:20pm ET

New York Jets kicker Sam Ficken made two extra points and didn't attempt a field goal in a loss to the Patriots Sunday. Ficken has now made all three attempts as a Jet after signing with the team prior to Week 2. That should be enough to keep Ficken employed with the team given the Jets kicker struggles in the preseason, but fantasy owners should look elsewhere as the Jets offense will severely limit Ficken's scoring opportunities.

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Mohamed Sanu Sep 22 5:20pm ET

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Mohamed Sanu caught all six of his targets for 75 yards during the Week 3 loss to the Colts. Despite failing to score a touchdown yet this season, Sanu continues to be a reliable option for quarterback Matt Ryan. He isn't the best option in 10 or 12-team leagues, but his ability to pull in receptions in a pass-first offense gives him some credibility moving ahead.

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Julio Jones Sep 22 5:10pm ET

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones had eight receptions (nine targets) for 128 yards and a touchdown against the Colts in Week 3. After catching 11 passes and racking up three trips to the end zone coming into this one, Jones caught a 10-yard pass from quarterback Matt Ryan late in the game for his fourth score of the year. He will look to keep it going against the Titans in Week 4. Obviously, keep him starting in all fantasy formats.

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Braxton Berrios Sep 22 5:10pm ET

New York Jets wide receiver Braxton Berrios made two catches for 29 yards in a loss to the Patriots Sunday. Berrios led the Jets with six targets but couldn't get much done against a stout Patriots Defense. Berrios served as the team's third wide receiver today, but would see his role decrease if Demaryius Thomas (hamstring, knee) gets healthy and joins the active roster after a bye in Week 4. Despite leading the team in targets, Berrios doesn't need to be owned in fantasy.

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Austin Hooper Sep 22 5:10pm ET

Atlanta Falcons tight end Austin Hooper had six receptions for 66 yards and two scores during the loss to the Colts on Sunday. After failing to score a touchdown through the first two weeks of the year, Hooper finally came to life against Indianapolis. His absence in the end zone up to this point has been somewhat troubling, but his ability to haul in passes gives him some PPR appeal moving ahead.

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Robby Anderson Sep 22 5:00pm ET

New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson made three catches for 11 yards in a loss to the Patriots Sunday. Anderson was targeted five times but could get nothing done as the Jets had just 105 yards of total offense with third-string QB Luke Falk making his first career start. Of all the Jets offensive weapons, Anderson has suffered the most with starting QB Sam Darnold (mono) out of action as Anderson has always been a receiver reliant on big plays and the Jets simply can't throw the ball downfield given their current QB situation. The Jets have a bye in Week 4 but will face another tough matchup in Week 5 at Philadelphia. If Darnold plays, Anderson is a boom-or-bust WR3 but he should be avoided as long as Darnold is out.

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Jalen Richard Sep 22 5:00pm ET

Oakland Raiders running back Jalen Richard was on the field for a season-high 29 snaps in the team's Week 3 loss to the Vikings. It helped that Josh Jacobs was dealing with an illness and a hip injury earlier this week, not to mention the team trailed by three scores for most of the game. Richard didn't do much with his playing time, however, picking up 29 scrimmage yards on two rushes and three catches as his involvement in the passing game has faded this year. Owners of Jacobs shouldn't worry about the rookie losing his bell-cow status, as Richard is no threat to his workload. The 25-year-old doesn't carry any standalone value and will be off the fantasy radar as long as Jacobs is active.

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Luke Falk Sep 22 4:50pm ET

New York Jets quarterback Luke Falk was dreadful Sunday in New England completing 12 of 22 passes for 98 yards. Falk didn't lead a touchdown drive and threw an interception in the ugly loss. Falk was serviceable in Week 2 when he was forced into action, but the Patriots Defense completely dominated today sacking Falk five times and giving up only 105 total yards. The Jets have a much-needed bye next week before another tough matchup at Philadelphia in Week 5. The team hopes starting QB Sam Darnold (mono) will be healthy enough to play, but if not all the Jets fantasy options need to be downgraded with Falk under center.

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New England Patriots Sep 22 4:50pm ET

The New England Patriots Defense stifled an opponent once again as the team cruised to a 30-14 win over the Jets. The Jets were never in this game as the Patriots pass rush racked up five sacks while allowing only 35 rushing yards. The defense, technically, still has not allowed a touchdown all season as the Jets scored on a special teams fumble and a pick-six from backup quarterback Jarrett Stidham. The Patriots defense has risen quickly to become an elite unit in fantasy moving forward.

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Devonta Freeman Sep 22 4:50pm ET

Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman ran for a season-high 88 yards on 16 carries in addition to three receptions for seven yards against Indianapolis on Sunday. Freeman was productive despite failing to find the end zone against the Colts, but it was a step in the right direction after amassing just 41 yards on the ground through the first two weeks of the year. He remains a must-start in most fantasy leagues, however, but he will have to do more to keep that tag moving forward, including scoring a touchdown.

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Le'Veon Bell Sep 22 4:40pm ET

New York Jets running back Le'Veon Bell carried the ball 18 times for 35 yards and hauled in all four of his targets for 28 yards against the Patriots on Sunday. A 63-yard day is disappointing for fantasy owners, but considering the Jets only gained 105 yards of offense total things could have been worse for Bell. The Jets offense could get nothing going with third-string quarterback Luke Falk making his first career start on the road against a defense that is yet to allow a touchdown this season. If nothing else, fantasy owners can be satisfied Bell out-touched Ty Montgomery 22-2 and he is still the centerpiece of New York's offense. The Jets will be on bye in Week 4, but Bell will continue to be a must-start running back in fantasy moving forward.

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Matt Ryan Sep 22 4:40pm ET

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan threw for 304 yards and three touchdowns on 29-for-34 passing in the narrow loss to the Colts in Week 3. After throwing five picks during the first two games of the year, his lone interception in this one was a step in the right direction. Despite Ryan's inaccuracies in the passing game, he remains one of the most productive fantasy quarterbacks in 2019, however, and should continue to have a place in starting lineups in a majority of formats. He will look to keep it going in Week 4 against the Titans.

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