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3 things we learned about the Bills

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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — The Cincinnati Bengals are off to their best start in 27 years, but quarterback Andy Dalton believes they can still play better.

How good can be the Bengals be at their best?

“Well, you wouldn’t throw an incompletion, you would score every time you hand the ball off,” Dalton said with a smile.

Short of that, the Bengals will settle for being 6-0 after beating the Buffalo Bills 34-21 on Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

The Bengals have started 6-0 twice before, in 1975 and in 1988, when they advanced to the Super Bowl.

Coach Marvin Lewis called the milestone “a miniscule part of history.”

“We’ve got bigger things to do,” Lewis added.

The Bengals offense had its highest-scoring day of the season, even with the Bills blanketing star receiver A.J. Green (four catches, 36 yards). Dalton completed 22 of 33 passes for 243 yards and three touchdowns, connecting with seven different receivers for first downs or touchdowns.

Cincinnati wide receiver Marvin Jones exploited the one-on-one coverage created by the extra attention Green received and caught a career-high nine passes for 95 yards and a touchdown.

Tight end Tyler Eifert and running back Jeremy Hill also caught touchdown passes from Dalton, running back Giovani Bernard ran for a touchdown, and Matt Nugent kicked a couple field goals.

“You never know who is going to have the big week,” Dalton said. “It’s nice to have the ability to spread it around to a bunch of different guys, because we have a lot of playmakers on this team.”

Bills coach Rex Ryan said the Bengals had too many weapons for his defense to contain.

“That team has lit up everybody in the league,” Ryan said. “You can take away this guy, you take away that guy, well, this other dude beat you.”

What we learned about the Bills:

1. The injuries are piling up. The Bills went into Sunday’s game without quarterback Tyrod Taylor (knee), wide receiver Percy Harvin (hip), strong safety Aaron Williams (neck), running back Karlos Williams (head) and special teams standout Marcus Easley (shoulder). They left the game with star wideout Sammy Watkins (ankle), Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kyle Williams (knee) and right tackle Seantrel Henderson (head) also on the injured list.

2. This is bad week for the Bills to be down bodies. Following Sunday’s game, the entire team boarded a flight to London to begin preparing for next week’s game against the Jaguars. That included general manager Doug Whaley, who will be handicapped in making moves to reinforce the roster, due to his own travel, as well as the fact that any player the Bills sign will need to have his passport in order before flying separately overseas.

3. Perhaps a road trip is what the Bills need. They are 2-0 in away games this year, with both of those victories following losses. On the contrary, they are now 1-3 at home, having lost three straight at Ralph Wilson Stadium for the first time since 2011. And all three losses bordered on blowouts.

Etc.

–RB LeSean McCoy looked healthy after missing the better part of the past three games with a hamstring injury. He broke off a 33-yard run on the first play from scrimmage, surpassing the Bills rushing total from last week’s win in Tennessee. He finished with a season-high 90 yards on 17 carries (5.3-yard average). McCoy also surpassed 7,000 rushing yards for his career during the game.

–WR Sammy Watkins returned after missing two games with a calf injury. It was also Watkins’ first game since he went public with his desire to be targeted more often. Watkins dropped the first pass thrown his way but caught the next four for 48 yards and a touchdown. However, he came up limping on his left ankle after the score and left the locker room at halftime on crutches.

–QB EJ Manuel wasn’t terrible in his first start in more than a year, but he wasn’t good enough. Manuel limited the negative plays, turning the ball over just once and taking only two sacks. He completed 67 percent of his passes for an average of 6.2 yards per attempt. Those are better than his career numbers, but not as good as what Tyrod Taylor was able to produce through the first five games.


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