TAMPA BAY, FL (FOX19) - An errant challenge by Marvin Lewis helped the Bengals escape Tampa Bay with 14-13 win and a franchise record three road wins in three weeks.
With the game on the line in the final minute, the Buccaneers completed a big play to get into field goal range. Marvin Lewis threw an errant challenge flag, costing the Bengals a timeout (a team cannot throw the challenge flag with under two minutes left in the game). Lewis begged the referees to check the replay during the timeout, which then showed Tampa Bay had 12 men on the field.
"We were having a hard time getting lined up on defense because of their 12th man," said Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis. "So, I threw the flag."
"I told the ref to count it up, and he saw 12," said Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap, who had a team-high seven tackles. "They tried to go on the ball right after they already had 12 on the field. It was a critical play. Thankfully they were able to review it and the call went for us."
After a review, the Buccaneers were penalized for having 12 men on the field, and couldn't move the ball from the 46-yard line with 26 seconds to play.
"At the end of the day, you want to win by one point, and that's what we did," said Andy Dalton. "We have to get these wins, and we're in control of everything."
Dalton, battling the flu, completed 19 of 27 passes for 176 yards and a touchdown, but threw a career-high three interceptions in the first half.
"I was able to push through it," said Dalton. "I didn't get much sleep last night. I wish I had felt better, but I'm not going to make any excuses for the way I played in the first half."
Rookie wide receiver James Wright led the Bengals with three receptions for 59 yards. A.J. Green had four catches for 57 yards and a touchdown. Cincinnati rushed for 112 yards as a team and remain unbeaten this year when they rush for 100 yards or more.
The Bengals (8-3-1) defense gave up just 263 yards and shut down Tampa Bay on third down (2-11). Cincinnati returns home on a three-game winning streak to host Pittsburgh in Week 14.