CINCINNATI — Buffalo quarterback Jim Kelly gambled once too often Sunday, allowing the Cincinnati Bengals to cash in an overtime victory.
Kelly's long passes sparked a 24-point outburst in the second half that vaulted the Bills to a 10-point lead. But Boomer Esiason rallied the Bengals to a tie, and then an interception off Kelly set up a 20-yard field goal by Jim Breech in overtime to give Cincinnati a 36-33 victory.
"That's part of football," said Kelly, who was intercepted by linebacker Carl Zander on the first play of overtime. "You throw interceptions. It's just, why does it have to happen at that time?"
Playing in just his second National Football League game, Kelly completed 13 of 21 passes for 228 yards and hurt the Bengals with the daring passing style that made him a star with the Houston Gamblers of the United States Football League.
He threw an 84-yard touchdown bomb to wide receiver Chris Burkett to spark the second-half comeback that put the Bills ahead 33-23 in the fourth quarter.
But Esiason, who completed 13 of 22 attempts for 259 yards, guided the Bengals 74 yards in less than two minutes for the tying score with 22 seconds left in regulation.
But Breech's 51-yard field goal with 5:19 to play moved the Bengals within striking range, and Esiason used a little luck of his own to salvage a tie. The quarterback scrambled 12 yards and threw 6 yards to tight end Eric Kattus before faking a handoff and lunging into the end zone from the two-yard line. Breech's extra point put the game into overtime.
Earlier, Esiason hit Eddie Brown on touchdown passes of 35 and 17 yards.
On the interception, Zander returned the ball 18 yards to the Bills' 17. Two plays later, Breech kicked his second field goal of the game, boosting Cincinnati's record to 1-1 and giving Buffalo (0-2) its 18th consecutive road loss.