McGee's big returns for TDs cool off Palmer, Cincinnati

Bills 37 Bengals 27

Nfl Week 16

December 25, 2005

CINCINNATI -- Playing as a division champion for the first time in 15 years, the Cincinnati Bengals let a game and a first-round playoff bye get away yesterday. Terrence McGee returned a kickoff and an interception for a touchdown, rallying the Buffalo Bills to a 37-27 victory.

McGee's 46-yard interception return with 35 seconds left sent 65,485 fans filing glumly out of the stadium in their orange-and-black Santa hats, stunned by what they'd just seen.

For the first time all season, the Bengals (11-4) lost a game they were expected to win, against a team that hadn't won on the road all season.

The Bengals clinched the AFC North title a week earlier in Detroit and wished for an afternoon of revelry in front of the home crowd. Instead, they got a reminder of what can happen when they let a game turn into a shootout.

"We need to truly learn from this, and know what playing like this can get us," offensive guard Bobbie Williams said. "It can get you an `L' and when you get to the playoffs, getting an `L' means you're out of it."

The Bills (5-10) have been out of it for a long time, losing their previous five games. McGee and Kelly Holcomb led them to a feel-good win at the end of a disastrous season, one that has players wondering what ownership will do in the offseason.

"Nobody gave us a chance to beat these guys," said Holcomb, who was 24-for-31 for 308 yards. "We hadn't won on the road. It definitely leaves a good taste in your mouth."

McGee had five kickoff returns for 220 yards, including his 99-yard sprint down the left sideline that sparked the comeback late in the third quarter.

Buffalo 6 7 7 17-37

Cincinnati 0 14 10 3-27

First quarter Buf-FG Lindell 21, 11:44. Buf-FG Lindell 24, 5:37.

Second quarter Cin-T. Perry 2 run (Graham kick), 14:29. Buf-Evans 3 pass from Holcomb (Lindell kick), 9:37. Cin-C.Johnson 41 pass from Palmer (Graham kick), 1:17.

Third quarter Cin-FG Graham 31, 4:09. Buf-McGee 99 kick return (Lindell kick), 3:57. Cin-Henry 27 pass from Palmer (Graham kick), 1:36.

Fourth quarter Buf-Holcomb 1 run (Lindell kick), 11:29. Cin-FG Graham 27, 7:27. Buf-FG Lindell 22, :58. Buf-McGee 46 interception return (Lindell kick), :35. A-65,485.

Buf Cin

First downs 19 23

Total Net Yards 355 374

Rushes-yards 25-67 23-104

Passing 288 270

Punt Returns 2-38 0-0

Kickoff Returns 6-256 7-125

Interceptions Ret. 2-88 1-0

Comp-Att-Int 24-31-1 27-38-2

Sacked-Yards Lost 3-20 2-13

Punts 1-52.0 2-44.0

Fumbles-Lost 2-0 0-0

Penalties-Yards 6-55 3-15

Time of Possession 30:12 29:48 Rushing-Buffalo, McGahee 23-66 , Holcomb 2-1. Cincinnati, R.Johnson 18-88 , Palmer 4-14 , Perry 1-2. Passing-Buffalo, Holcomb 24-31-1-308. Cincinnati, Palmer 25-36-2-266 , Kitna 2-2-0-17. Receiving-Buffalo, Moulds 10-99, Evans 5-107, Reed 3-60, McGahee 3-0, Parrish 2-31, Shelton 1-11. Cincinnati, C.Johnson 9-117, Houshmandzadeh 7-70 , Walter 3-21, Schobel 2-30, R.Johnson 2-8, J.Johnson 2-6, Henry 1-27, Washington 1-4. Missed field goals-Buffalo, Lindell 48 (WL).

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