The Browns all season long have played the game of “what if.” Sunday at home vs the Bengals, they finally finished, walking away with their first win of 2012, beating Cincy 34-17.
Brandon Weeden celebrated his 29th birthday with his first NFL win, going 17-for-29 for 231 yards with two touchdowns as the Browns broke an 11-game losing streak stretching back to last season.
The Browns also did it without their workhorse back, Trent Richardson, who was held to 37 yards on 14 carries and left with a hip injury.
Cleveland trailed 14-7 at the half, but took over with two field goals from Phil Dawson in the third quarter to close it to 14-13.
They scored nine seconds into the fourth quarter when backup RB Montario Hardesty scored from a yard out to make it 20-14.
The Bengals kicked a field goal to close it to 20-17, but the Browns put it away with a touchdown after a drive that covered 63 yards on 6 plays, and ended with Weeden hitting TE Ben Watson from three yards out to make it 27-17.
The game was put away when Bengals QB Andy Dalton threw a pick six when Sheldon Brown swiped one away and took it 19 yards to put the nail in the Cincy coffin.
Cincy did respond with a long TD throw from Dalton to A.J. Green from 57 yards to close the score to 34-24.
The Bengals had a shot, as they got the ball back and drove to the Browns 7, but then Dalton was hit and fumbled, with the Browns recovering to end their last chance at a comeback.
The win puts Cleveland at 1-5 on the season, the Bengals now have dropped two in a row and are 3-3.