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10/20/2013 9:29 PM EDT
Nugent's FG lifts Bengals to 27-24 win over Lions
CINCINNATI 27, DETROIT 24

By LARRY LAGE
AP Sports Writer

DETROIT (AP) -- Andy Dalton and Matthew Stafford combined to
throw a lot of highlight-worthy passes - especially to A.J.
Green and Calvin Johnson.

But the Cincinnati Bengals used superior special teams for a
second straight hard-fought road win, 27-24 against the Detroit
Lions on Sunday.

Mike Nugent's 54-yard field goal as time expired won it, but two
punts and a blocked field goal also were crucial.

"We wrote a pretty good script there at the end," Bengals coach
Marvin Lewis said.

The AFC North-leading Bengals (5-2) won a game for the second
straight week by the same score thanks to Nugent's right foot.
He made an overtime kick to give Cincinnati a win after it blew
a 14-point, fourth-quarter lead at Buffalo.

"I love how confident everyone always is," Nugent said. "Nobody
freaks out. I think it all begins with (Marvin Lewis) because he
and his staff don't get too high or too low."

The Lions (4-3) rallied from an 11-point, third-quarter deficit
and looked as if they did enough to send the game to OT, but
rookie Sam Martin shanked a punt just 28 yards to midfield in
the final minute.

"I thought they were going to try blocking the punt and I rushed
myself," Martin said. "I was trying to put the ball on the
sideline and keep it away from the returner and I pulled it."

Dalton threw two short passes to gain 15 yards and called the
team's last timeout with 4 seconds left to set up Nugent's
game-winning field goal.

"Pretty clutch kick, two weeks in a row," Dalton said.

Dalton was pretty good again, too.

He was 24 of 34 for 372 yards, the third-highest total of his
career and threw three touchdown passes for the second straight
game. He didn't have an interception to help him reach a
career-high 135.9 QB rating.

After Dalton was sacked for the first and only time Sunday,
Bengals punter Kevin Huber hit a perfect, 45-yard punt that
pinned Detroit to its 6 with 1:43 left.

"We were in a tough spot," Stafford said. "If we would have
dropped back in a pass play on that first play, I would have
been in my own end zone."

The Lions gained just 17 yards, then Martin sent a punt out of
bounds at the Bengals 49.

"I told him what I told the rest of the team," Detroit coach Jim
Schwartz said. "This is a tough, bitter loss, and we need to
learn from these mistakes and not make them again."

Detroit will work on ways to avoid allowing a player to bust
through the middle of its line on a field goal because that's
what Carlos Dunlap did when he blocked David Aker's kick from
the Cincinnati 16, leading to a return that gave the Bengals the
ball at the Detroit 40 with 2:17 left in first half.

Dalton took advantage, lofting a 12-yard pass into the back of
the end zone, where only Marvin Jones could catch it with 41
seconds left in the first half.

"The biggest turnaround in the game was the blocked field goal
because it ended up being a 10-point swing," Schwartz said.

Stafford was 28 of 51 for 357 yards with three TDs and didn't
throw an interception.

Johnson caught nine passes for 155 yards and two TDs, the second
of which was one of the most impressive of his career because he
leaped to catch a 50-yard pass while surrounded by three Bengals
in the end zone to make it 24-all early in the fourth.

"It was one of the best catches I have ever seen," Stafford
said.

The Bengals had a pretty good pitch-and-catch combination, too.

Cincinnati scored the first time it had the ball when Dalton
connected with Green on an 82-yard TD, the second-longest pass
of his career, after the receiver got past cornerback Chris
Houston. Green finished with six catches and 155 yards
receiving.

"I put this loss on me, not anybody else," said Houston, who was
benched for part of the game.

NOTES: Bengals CB Leon Hall left the game early with an Achilles
tendon injury. "It seems pretty significant," Lewis said. ...
The Lions lost starting OTs Riley Reiff (hamstring) and Corey
Hilliard (knee) during the game, but Reiff was able to return.
... Bengals DT Devon Still (elbow) and Lions CB Rashean Mathis
(groin) were also hurt.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

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Follow Larry Lage on Twitter: http://twitter.com/larrylage

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