Not pretty, but for the Cleveland Browns, they will take it anyway they can get it. First they got the help of not having to face Carson Palmer, who was out with a sore elbow, then they got the help of having to face QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. The former Harvard QB was awful, as the Browns took advantage of two picks and a late fumble to hold on for a 20-12 win.
It was a much needed win for Cleveland, who improves to 1-3, while the Bengals fall to 0-4. Cleveland’s offense finally showed signs of life in the fourth quarter, as Derek Anderson threw a four-yard TD to Braylon Edwards and Jamal Lewis went over from a yard out to put the Browns up 17-6. Fitzpatrick threw a TD to Chad Ocho Cinco to make it 17-12, but then the QB fumbled deep in their own territory with just over two minutes left to end all hopes for the Bengals. Phil Dawson kicked a 28-yard field goal to finish it for the Browns.
Anderson was not very good in his own right for the Browns in the first half, as he was just 4-for-10 for 27 yards. Fitzpatrick was 9-for-17 for 57 yards. Cincy scored twice on Shayne Graham field goals in the second quarter to build a 6-3 lead. The Bengals had some chances, but with Fitzpatrick off the mark most of the half, they couldn’t take advantage of poor play by the Browns.
The best shot for the Bengals in the second half may have come after Anderson threw a bad pick to Chinedum Ndukwe while driving the team in Bengals territory at the 32. Cincy drove the the Browns 46, but then had to punt as on a third-and-two Chris Perry was stopped for no gain.
The first Browns scoring drive came when the team drove 80 yards on 13 plays in 6:38. One of the big plays was Anderson hitting Kellen Winslow for 19 yards to the Bengals 19. Five plays later from the Cincy four Anderson hit Braylon Edwards for a four-yard TD to make it 10-6. Perry then fumbled on the next drive for Cincy, and the Browns drove down for a short Lewis TD to make it 17-6.
Lewis ended the day with 79 yards on 25 carries and a score. Anderson was 15-for-24 for 138 yards with one pick and the Edwards TD. Fitzpatrick was 21-for-35 playing for Palmer. He threw three picks, and fumbled on what was the real last shot Cincy had.
The Browns have the bye in week five. Cincinnati’s road for a win gets no easier, as they head to Dallas next week to play the high powered Cowboys.