DETROIT (AP) — Marvin Lewis had already mapped out how far the Cincinnati Bengals needed to go to move into field-goal range in the final seconds.
"I wrote 36 on my sheet at the beginning of the game," the Cincinnati coach said, referring the yard line the ball would need to be snapped from.
That's exactly where the Bengals were when Mike Nugent kicked a 54-yard field goal as time expired to give Cincinnati a 27-24 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday. It looked like the Bengals would have to hold on just to force overtime, but they were able to stop the Lions in the final minute, and Detroit's Sam Martin had a 28-yard punt that gave Cincinnati the ball near midfield with 26 seconds left.
"You can tell you hit a bad punt right when you hit a bad punt," Martin said. "That kick came down to that play at the end of the game. That's what you see and that's the immediate thought. I don't think anyone's ever been wrong for thinking that. I should have hit a better punt."
Lewis said Nugent could have attempted a game-winning kick from about 58 yards, but his pregame sheet said reaching the 36-yard line would put the Bengals in range.
Andy Dalton, who had three touchdown passes, threw two short passes to gain 15 yards and called the team's last timeout to set up the winning field goal.
Cincinnati (5-2) has won three straight, the last two by identical scores on kicks by Nugent.
The Lions (4-3) rallied from an 11-point third-quarter deficit, but not even two touchdowns by Calvin Johnson could help them pull this game out.
Here are five reasons Cincinnati came away with the win on the road:
SPECIAL TEAMS: It wasn't just the winning field goal or Martin's poor punt that loomed large at the end.
Cincinnati's Kevin Huber gave his team a lift with a punt that pinned the Lions at their own 6 with 1:43 to play, and the Bengals blocked a field goal earlier in the game.
MATCHING MEGATRON: Johnson was spectacular, especially when he leaped to catch a 50-yard touchdown pass while surrounded by three Bengals, tying the game at 24 in the fourth.
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