The last time the Browns played the Bengals, they took their AFC North rival to overtime. Sunday in Cincy, the fight was there again, but this time the Bengals made sure to put the Browns away before the end of four quarters, walking away with a 16-7 win. The Browns offense, which was able to move the ball well last week, was back to their old tricks, putting up little fight against a Bengals D that has been playing well most of the year.
The Cincy run game was really the difference, as the combo of Larry Johnson and Bernard Scott put up 194 yards. Johnson, who has only been with the Bengals for two weeks, ran for 107 yards, Scott went for 87. “Against a team as good as the Bengals, on the road, there’s a very small margin for error,” Browns head coach Eric Mangini said. “We let Scott get outside on his runs. On the touchdown pass, we let the quarterback out of the pocket. In the passing game we had too many dropped balls. You just can’t do those things and expect to beat the Bengals.”
The Browns made it somewhat of a game with a drive to close within 13-7 in the third quarter. It was an 8-play, 55-yard drive that eneded with QB Brady Quinn going in from 9 yards out for his first career rushing TD. It was as close as the Browns would get all day, and about the only Browns highlight on offense.
Cincy had the ball for 38:11, and Quinn was just 15-of-34 for 100 yards and a QB rating of 51.3. The Browns did employ some trickery, as Josh Cribbs threw a pass to Quinn for 18 yards, but it was simply not enough against a good Bengals D. The Browns D held their own for most of the day, as Cincy led just 3-0 till just before the one minute mark of the second quarter.
That was when the Bengals drove down and QB Carson Palmer rolled to his right and found J.P. Foschi from 4 yards. The TD occurred with 1:10 remaining in the half. Then after the Browns went 3-and-out, a horse collar on Shaun Rogers gave Shayne Graham a shot from 53 yards out on the last play of the half to make it 13-0 Bengals.
Cleveland on the day had the ball for just 21:49, and they also had just 169 yards of offense, 11 first downs, and were 4-for-14 on third downs. The now 1-10 club is at home next Sunday for a 4:05pm game vs San Diego.