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(Sunday, October 10th)
Final Score: Tampa Bay 24, Cincinnati 21
Cincinnati, OH (Sports Network) - Connor Barth's 31-yard field goal with one second remaining capped a furious rally and gave Tampa Bay a 24-21 victory over Cincinnati at Paul Brown Stadium.
"Obviously, it was a really exciting win -- a good win for our young football team," said Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris. "They were resilient. They played big ball in the face of adversity."
Josh Freeman finished 20-of-33 for 280 yards, one interception and a 20-yard touchdown pass to Mike Williams for the Buccaneers (3-1), who erased a seven- point deficit late in the fourth quarter thanks to a pair of timely interceptions.
Williams ended with 99 yards on seven catches, Micheal Spurlock added three grabs for 35 yards -- including a reception that set up the game-winning boot -- and Earnest Graham logged 65 yards and a score on three carries.
Aqib Talib and Sabby Piscitelli recorded those interceptions late in the contest, both of which led to the Bucs' tallying 10 points inside the final 90 seconds.
Carson Palmer was 21-of-36 for 209 yards and two touchdowns, but was picked off three times for the Bengals (2-3), who have dropped two in a row.
Cedric Benson tallied 144 yards on 23 carries, while Terrell Owens posted 102 yards and a touchdown on seven grabs. Jermaine Gresham added a TD reception in the setback.
"To sum it up, I wanted to go win the football game there at the end. I will take responsibility for that," said Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis of his club's chances at the end of the contest. "I think we are good enough and can execute well enough to go win the football game. You can't play scared."
Leading 21-14, Palmer was picked off by Talib at the 50-yard line with under 2 1/2 minutes remaining to derail a Bengals drive which could have given them an insurance score.
Tampa Bay then embarked on a five-play march ending on Williams' leaping 20- yard touchdown reception in the back of the end zone with 1:26 to play for a 21-all deadlock.
Palmer hit Owens for 29 yards to the 45 on the first play, and took the ball himself to gain a first down in Bucs' territory with just over 30 ticks left on a 3rd-and-1. However, a pass interference call on Owens wiped out a catch, and on the next play, Piscitelli grabbed a Palmer pass and returned the ball to the Cincy 34.
"We felt like we had the game in control, and those two plays sealed our fate in this one," Palmer said. "We were a little bit off all day. We were a little off on the last couple of plays. And that summed up the game for us."
Spurlock then made a diving grab on the sideline to the Bengals' 13, which was upheld by a review. Barth immediately set up for a 31-yarder and was promptly iced, but still drilled the game-winner.
After the kickoff, the Bengals tried a lateral play which ran out of room near midfield.
"We were all locked in. I was in a place where we got to get the ball back and stop them," Morris added on his team's mindset facing the late deficit. "They threw the ball, we got an interception and got the ball back for our offense. Josh (Freeman) went out there and executed like he (should have) executed all day, and he hadn't been. He knew exactly what to do with the football, and we were able to execute there."
The Bengals broke through on their third drive of the game, as Palmer found Owens open on the left sideline for a 43-yard touchdown.
Early in the second quarter with the home team backed up near its own goal line, Palmer had a pass tipped and Cody Grimm took it 11 yards for a 7-7 game.
Tampa was driving inside of three minutes left in the half, but a Freeman to Williams connection that was good enough for a first down inside the five was fumbled by the wideout and recovered by Cincinnati.
Mike Nugent capped the 10-play drive with a 31-yard make and the Bengals took a 10-7 edge to the half.
A pass interference call on the Bengals aided the Bucs' scoring drive late in the third quarter, as Graham rolled in from the one on the next play for a 14-10 Tampa lead.
Nugent brought the home team within a point with a 35-yarder to cap the ensuing 55-yard drive, then Spurlock fumbled the kickoff which was recovered by Cincinnati. The original call of down by contact was overruled by review, and the Bengals were set up on the Bucs' 29.
Seven plays later Palmer hit Gresham in the end zone for a one-yard TD and 19-14 Cincinnati advantage. A delayed handoff to Benson on the conversion upped the lead to seven.
Tampa Bay has won six in a row over Cincinnati dating back to 1989, and the Buccaneers lead the all-time series with seven wins in 10 matchups...The Bengals had wide receiver Jordan Shipley inactive due to a concussion suffered in last week's game against Cleveland, and also listed defensive end Jonathan Fanene as inactive, out for the fourth straight week with a hamstring issue since Week 1...Also, safety Roy Williams, originally listed as doubtful, was inactive...Owens will likely face a fine for posting a message on his Twitter account about an hour before the game, violating NFL rules that prohibit social media use 90 minutes prior to kickoff.
10/10 20:03:00 ET