ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Frank Gore scored on a 1-yard run with 1:50 remaining in rallying the Buffalo Bills to a home-opening 21-17 victory over the winless Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
Tight end Dawson Knox set up the score by bowling over two Bengals for a 49-yard gain. And cornerback Tre’Davious White sealed the win by intercepting Andy Dalton’s tipped pass on third-and-5 from Buffalo’s 28 with 12 seconds remaining.
The Bills squandered a 14-0 lead and were forced to rally back after the Bengals scored 17 points to take the lead on three consecutive possessions.
Buffalo improved to 3-0 for the first time since 2011 and only third time in 26 years. The Bengals fell to 0-3.
Frank Gore also scored on a 1-yard run and finished 76 yards rushing.
Bills starter Josh Allen finished 23 of 36 for 243 yards with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Knox and a costly interception, which 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.
Buffalo’s defense came to the rescue after appearing winded on a hot afternoon with temperatures in the 80s.
The Bills forced four turnovers, with White finishing with two interceptions.
Andy Dalton went 20 of 36 for 249 yards and two interceptions.
Dalton and the Bengals’ offense overcame a dreadful start by coming alive midway through the third quarter — and after Cincinnati got the ball on Buffalo’s 22 following Darius Phillips interception.
Dalton scored on a 1-yard run three plays later to cut Buffalo’s lead to 14-7.
On the Bengals’ next possession, Dalton capped an 11-play, 82-yard drive with a 1-yard pass to Joe Mixon.
Cincinnati then went ahead 17-14 when Randy Bullock hit a 43-yard field goal with 4:54 left.
Allen responded with a seven-play 78-yard drive in producing his fourth career winning drive and second this season. Buffalo overcame a 16-0 deficit to beat the New York Jets to open the season.
Knox, a rookie, played a huge role on the decisive drive. On the second play from scrimmage, Allen hit Knox, who was wide open at midfield near the left sideline. Spinning to run upfield, Knox bowled over safety Shawn Williams and then shed Jessie Bates’ attempt to tackle him before finally being brought down at the Bengals 22.
Mixon finished 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.
Bengals rookie coach Zac 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.
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-colored sombrero, which Castro made famous for wearing at games.
Bengals: none reported.
Bills: Starting right guard Jon Feliciano did not return after sustaining a neck injury in the first quarter.
Bengals: prime-time matchup at Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 30.
Bills: host New England Patriots on Sept. 29.