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Bengals catch a break with a challenge they didn’t have

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) is sacked by Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Akeem Spence (97) during the third quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)


Sometimes, the challenges you don’t actually have help the most.

The Bengals escaped with a 14-13 win at Tampa Bay, thanks to a bold call by Bengals coach Marvin Lewis.

It was nearly the only thing that went right for his team on the day.

The Bengals survived a three-interception first half by quarterback Andy Dalton, but actually took a 14-10 lead in the third quarter when Dalton hit A.J. Green for a 13-yard touchdown pass.

They then chose a surprise onsides kick, but the Bucs recovered, and were able to get a field goal to close the gap to one.

But as the Bengals offense faltered, the Bucs appeared to have a chance to win the game with a late drive.

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis threw a challenge flag he didn’t have, costing himself a timeout. But the stoppage of play allowed the refs to realize the Buccaneers had 12 men on the field, negating a 21-yard pass play which would have set up a chip shot game-winner.

Instead, the Bucs had a desperate fourth-and-20 try which was well short, allowing the Bengals to kill the game.

The win moves the Bengals to 8-3-1 on a rough day for their division, although this one had plenty of warts.

The Buccaneers fell to 2-10, which ought to take care of their faint playoff hopes.