It was a good start and an even better finish for the Bengals Sunday in Cleveland, as Marvin Lewis’ crew of “just get it done” got it done with a hard fought 27-17 win over the rival Browns.
They did it mostly without the services of rookie QB Andy Dalton, who left the game in the third quarter due to an injured wrist.
Bruce Gradkowski came in and with the Bengals trailing 17-13 with less than five minutes left, he pulled a quick snap, and caught the Browns sleeping with a long TD pass to rookie A.J. Green to make it 20-17.
After the Bengals D held the Browns on fourth down, Cedric Benson put it away with a 39-yard TD run with 1:49 left to make it 27-17.
Benson finished with 121 yards on 25 carries. Mike Nugent kicked field goals of 24 and 47 yards for the Bengals, who will play the Broncos next week to try to get to 2-0.
Gradkowski in relief of Dalton went 5 of 12 for 92 yards and the touchdown. Dalton went 10 of 15 for 81 yards, throwing a 2-yard TD pass to Jermaine Gresham.
The Bengals built a 13-0 lead, only to watch it quickly slip away by halftime as Colt McCoy threw two TD passes for the Browns. McCoy was 19-for-40 for 213 yards with 2 touchdowns and a pick.
Cleveland though hurt themselves all day, as they committed 11 penalties—10 in the first half—and for some reason the Browns’ defense wasn’t ready for the key third-and-11 and Cincinnati made them pay.
The Bengals could have melted away after they gave up the 13-0 lead, but give credit to a defense that did a nice job holding the Browns in check in the second half, as they never let Cleveland get more than a four-point lead.