CINCINNATI — Three turnovers and a long punt return gave the Bills all they needed to keep their surge going. Their depleted offense simply wasn’t up to it.

Buffalo wasted chances and gave up a fourth-quarter lead Sunday, falling to the Cincinnati Bengals 20-16 in a steady rain. The Bills’ defense was good enough. The offense wasn’t even close.

Heading into their bye week, the Bills (3-2) need to figure out how to get a lot more out of an offense that has struggled all season.

“I think it’s true of any offense: If you become one-dimensional, that’s not good,” coach Sean McDermott said. “We’ve got to make sure we can run the football, and run our style of offense.”

For five weeks, they’ve been running at a minimal level.

Buffalo managed 221 yards against the Bengals (2-3), the fourth straight game failing to total 300. The Bills’ passing game was depleted by injuries. They started with only four healthy receivers, and tight end Charles Clay left with an injured left knee in the first half.

Their defense — the stingiest in the league after four games — provided a lot of help, getting three turnovers — two interceptions and a fumble. The Bills got their only touchdown off an interception , but wound up punting after another interception gave them the ball at the Cincinnati 36-yard line. They settled for a field goal after a fumble recovery.

The biggest blown chance came after Brandon Tate returned a punt to the Cincinnati 12-yard line midway through the fourth quarter. The Bills wound up settling for another field goal.

“When we create three turnovers, we have to find a way to get the ball into the end zone,” said safety Jordan Poyer, who had one of the interceptions. “Somehow, some way, we need to figure out how to get the ball into the end zone. It’s a tough loss.”

Tyrod Taylor was 20 of 37 for 166 yards with a touchdown , an interception and six sacks. Several of the sacks were the result of staying in the pocket and holding the ball too long. He ran only once.

“It wasn’t a great offensive performance and I take responsibility for that,” Taylor said. “I take the blame. My job is to get the ball out quicker. Sometimes we weren’t on the same page.”

The running game has been a disappointment, too. The Bills have failed to run for 100 yards in three of their five games. LeSean McCoy had 63 yards on 19 carries Sunday, and the Bills managed 82 yards rushing for a 3.4-yard average. McCoy has yet to score a touchdown this season by either run or pass.

“There are a lot of things we have to clean up, and it starts with me,” Taylor said.


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