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For the second time in as many weeks, the Bengals lose a game they should have won, receiving consecutive losses against teams with a combined 1-8 when they played them. Yet it was a second half route against the Browns that killed Cincinnati on Sunday.
With just over five minutes left in the fourth quarter, and a 10 point deficit, the Bengals had to rely on any opportunities they could find to stop the Browns from driving down the field and eating up the precious minutes the Bengals could utilize on offense. Fortunately for the Bengals, the Browns went three-and-out. In addition to a crucial Bengals defensive stop, the Browns called a timeout during their drive, allowing a valuable 4:13 left in the 4th quarter for the Bengals to begin their drive. The Bengals had two timeouts remaining.
Andy Dalton was orchestrating an efficient offensive drive. He was hitting his receivers for multiple intermediate passes down the middle of the field, barreling the Bengals offense down the field with a threat to score. Then, Andy Dalton lost the football.
Browns defensive end Emmanuel Stephens tackled Dalton on his blind side, causing Dalton to lose control of the football. Defensive tackle Billy Winn recovered the football for a 36 yard fumble return.
The Browns still lead the Bengals 34-24.
Talk about depressed. Since the midway point in the third quarter, the Cleveland Browns have scored 20 unanswered points on three possessions, capped by a pick-six that gave the Browns a 34-24 lead midway into the fourth quarter.
Cincinnati sets up with a third and 17 from their own 43-yard line. Andy Dalton takes the shotgun snap and floats the football down the field where A.J. Green hauls in the 57-yard touchdown reception, reducing Cleveland's lead to 34-24 with 5:21 remaining in the game.
After the Bengals were stalled on 3rd and 5 (surprise, surprise) and were able to convert a 44-yard field goal, they kicked off to Josh Cribbs for a 44-yard return to start the Browns offensive drive at their own 37 yard line.
Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon caught a 14-yard pass. 1st down. Montario Hardesty rushed for a 14-yard gain. 1st down. Hardesty then rushes for 5 yards, then 4 yards, and a play action was all it took for Brandon Weeden to complete a pass to tight end Jordan Cameron for a 23-yard gain.
The Browns were dealing with a nice 1st and 3 situation at the goal line after a largely successful drive down the field. All they needed was one play.
Browns tight end Benjamin Watson, who wasn’t even remotely being covered, easily caught a pass from Brandon Weeden in the end zone.
The Browns were leading the Bengals 27 – 17 with 8 minutes left in the 4th quarter.
Then, Andy Dalton threw a pick six.
On the first play of the Bengals drive, Dalton tried connecting with Brandon Tate. Tate hesitated as he read Dalton's pass which gave cornerback Sheldon Brown the opportunity to cut across Tate. Brown scored off of his interception.
The Browns are now leading 34-17 with 7:44 left in the game.
One could argue that quality field position helps the Cincinnati Bengals, but this offense earns the worst of worst grades when capitalizing with great field position.
At least they inched a little closer biting into Cleveland's lead.
Following the kickoff that angled out of bounds before reaching the endzone, the Bengals take their first snap with just under 15 minutes in the fourth quarter from their own 40-yard line. Following a quick A.J. Green slant that gained 16 yards to Cleveland's 44-yard line, the Bengals called BenJarvus Green Ellis' number on three consecutive runs, converting a third and one with a four-yard gain to the Browns 31-yard line.
Green was flagged for an offensive pass interference with 13:13 remaining in the fourth, pushing Cincinnati back to Cleveland's 41-yard line on the ten-yard penalty. A Tate 11-yard reception and Peerman four-yard catch sets up a third and five from the Browns 26-yard line with 11:20 in the game. Dalton targets Jermaine Gresham over the middle, who falls over.
The Bengals have converted only four of 13 third downs (31 percent).
Mike Nugent converts the 44-yard field goal to reduce Cincinnati's deficit to three with 11:11 remaining in the fourth.
After the Browns converted a second field goal in the 3rd quarter, the Bengals began their drive on the 20-yard line after a touchback. BenJarvus Green-Ellis was given two opportunities to gain yards on the ground, but was only able to contribute 1 yard total. The Bengals were faced with the dreaded “3rd Down,” and predictably couldn’t convert the down with an incomplete pass.
On their scoring drive, the Browns completed several passes for decent chunks of yardage. The Browns tried to find a way for former college quarter back, now NFL wide receiver, Josh Cribbs to throw the ball and confuse the Bengals defense; it didn’t work, at least not in the air. Cribbs ended up running the ball to the right for an 8-yard gain, giving the Browns a 3rd and 1 opportunity, which Weeden was able to convert with a quarterback sneak.
Brandon Weeden completed a pass to Josh Gordon for 14 yards, placing the Browns on the Bengals 13-yard line. Brown running back Chris Ogbonnaya pushed through the middle of the field and rushed just short of the goal line. Faced with 1st and goal, the Browns handed the ball off to Montario Hardesty for no gain. The Browns continued to attempt punching the ball through the middle on the ground, and Hardesty ended up taking the air instead as he took a leap over the line for a touchdown.
The Browns currently lead the Bengals 20-14.
Now that their seven point advantage has been reduced to four points following Phil Dawson's 41-yard field goal, the Bengals resume on offense from their own 20-yard line following a kickoff that sailed out of the back of the endzone.
Following a three-yard scramble and incomplete pass near the left sidelines on a backside throw, Andy Dalton takes the third and seven snap from the Bengals 23-yard with over seven minutes remaining in the third quarter. Dalton scrambles out of the pocket and the football is deflected on a pass intended for A.J. Green, where Joe Haden picks off the football and returns it to the Bengals 25-yard line.
Cleveland was unable to pick up the first down, following a Robert Geathers quarterback sack on third and one, forcing Phil Dawson to convert a 38-yard field goal, further reducing Cincinnati's lead to one point.
There were many three-and-outs as the Bengals and Browns played back and forth for the first half of the 3rd quarter. The wind played in the Bengals favor with a shanked punt by Browns punter Reggie Hodges, but the Bengals were unable to capitalize.
It wasn't until several back-and-forth possessions that Browns Josh Cribbs returned a punt for 60 yards, placing the Browns comfortably on the Bengals 30-yard line. As expected, the Browns put the ball in the hands of rookie running back Trent Richardson which resulted in a 5-yard gain. On the next snap, Vontaze Burfict made an excellent play and tipped Brandon Weeden's pass, resulting in an incompletion. Under pressure, Weeden attempted to convert the 3rd down by rushing up the middle but falling short.
Kicker Phil Dawson was able to convert a 41-yard field goal, cutting into the Bengals lead with the score now at 14-10 in the 3rd quarter.
Though we haven't noticed nor been notified either way, Bengals running back Brian Leonard is out of the game and standing on the sidelines in street clothes, according to Dan Hoard and Dave Lapham on the Bengals Radio Network (first I heard of it).
Dave Lapham said that while talking with teammates, he was pointing to his left hip. Eventually the Bengals announced that Brian Leonard is out with a rib injury.
That leaves BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Cedric Peerman as the team's lone running backs, not including fullback Chris Pressley.
The Cincinnati Bengals open the second half with a 14-7 lead.
After Marvin Lewis used Cincinnati's first timeout of the first half, Trent Richardson pounds his way eight yards on third and nine, reaching their own 29-yard line. Lewis uses the second timeout, stalling the clock at 1:28 remaining in the second quarter. Following a 47-yard punt to the Bengals 24-yard line, Armon Binns hauls in a six-yard reception and the Bengals offense meandered around on the field, making one believe that they were conceding the half.
But this was the most awful use of the clock we've seen all season.
Dalton hits Cedric Peerman on a 16-yard screen to the 30-yard line, followed by shunks of yardage from Andrew Hawkins. With 19 seconds remaining without a timeout in the first half, Dalton unleashes an underthrown pass to A.J. Green, who fights through double-coverage for 25 yards to the Browns 16-yard line. The Bengals sprint to the line of scrimmage and spike the football, but the clock expires.
At least the officials think so.
Replay shows that when the football is spiked, there may have been one second remaining on the clock.
Yet the problem was following the first completion to Armon Binns, wiping out at least 15 seconds on the clock before their next snap. During that omission of clock awareness, the Bengals players were standing around either purposely wiping out seconds on the clock or the coaching staff intended to end the half without much risk. Then the Bengals ran a series of plays that went from their 30-yard line to Cleveland's 16-yard line, which expired the first half.
That was just bad.
The Bengals have a 14-7 lead at half time.
While Marvin Lewis was deciphering a stack of paper blown across the field from the Browns sideline, Brandon Tate returned a punt for 32 yards after the Browns were unable to convert a 3rd and 15 situation. Cleveland committed a penalty for an illegal man downfield, resulting in 5 yards which gave the Bengals excellent field position on the Browns 27-yard line. As if the return wasn’t enough of a momentum booster, Green-Ellis ran the ball 20 yards up the middle of the field.
The Bengals’ recent struggles on 3rd down weren’t an issue, as the Bengals didn’t allow a 3rd down situation on their drive. Andy Dalton, facing 2nd and 4, threw a beautiful touchdown pass over D’Qwell Jackson to A.J. Green, giving the Bengals a 7 point lead over the Browns.
Green’s touchdown marks the fifth straight game that the second year wide receiver has found the endzone.
With 4:34 remaining in the second quarter, Wallace Gilberry lines up at right defensive end. Quarterback Brandon Weeden fakes the handoff and rolls out to the left. Gilberry didn't purchase any stock into the fake, holding his ground like a disciplined ninja. The design of the play didn't assign a blocker on Gilberry, who read the fake and sacked Weeden for a nine-yard loss.
It's Gilberry's first quarterback sack with the Cincinnati Bengals, forcing the Browns into third and 15, which they're unable to convert. Browns punt.
The Cincinnati Bengals defensive struggles continue, allowing the Browns to convert four of five third downs when Joe Thomas was called for a false start to open the second quarter, pushing the Browns back to their own 29-yard line.
Quarterback Brandon Weeden takes the shotgun snap and momentary scans the field before launching the football down the left hashmarks where wide receiver Josh Gordon, out of the slot, easily sprints beyond safety Reggie Nelson and Nate Clements to haul in the football for the 71-yard touchdown uncontested to tie the game at seven.
Now the Browns have converted five of their first six third down opportunities to start the game.
With 7:17 remaining in the first quarter on third and two from the Bengals 45-yard line following Michael Johnson's interception, Andy Dalton throws a quick slant to Jermaine Gresham lined out wide right. And the first-round draft pick from 2010 becomes exactly what we had expected.
Shedding tackles and deflecting approaching defenders, Gresham sprints down the middle of the field picking up 55 yards and giving the Bengals a 7-0 lead.
Cincinnati opens the game with consecutive runs following Brandon Tate's 23-yard return to Cincinnati's 17-yard line; starting with an overloaded formation on the left where BenJarvus Green-Ellis picks up only a single yard. On second down from their own 17-yard line, Green-Ellis cuts back on a designed run up the middle and picks up six yards to the 24-yard line. Quarterback Andy Dalton fakes the handoff on third and three, rolls out to the right and targets tight end Orson Charles in the flats. Defensive end Jabaal Sheard knocks the football down at the line of scrimmage, forcing the Bengals into a three and out.
Here we go again.
Following a 62-yard punt (wonder if the wind helped), the Cleveland Browns start by taking advantage of rookie Trent Richardson's ability with four straight touches. The first two were uncovered receptions for 17 yards combined, followed by consecutive runs for a one-yard loss (Geno Atkins and Robert Geathers make the stop) and a four-yard gain to the left with a nice backside tackle from Reggie Nelson.
Third and seven from the Browns 34-yard line with 11:02 remaining in the game, Brandon Weeden takes the shotgun snap and floats the football over a trailing Terence Newman, hitting a wide open Josh Cooper for a 28-yard gain to the Bengals 38-yard line and the first down. Tremendous efforts on first and second down sets up another third and nine from the Bengals 37-yard line, where Weeden floats a screen pass to Chris Ogbonnaya, trailing great blocks for a 10-yard gain and the first down.
Weeden takes the first down snap with 8:50 remaining in the game and targets the right. Geno Atkins deflects the football at the line of scrimmage, where Michael Johnson hauls in the punt-like football for the interception.
The Cincinnati Bengals captains walked to midfield for the opening coin toss, calling heads. It's tails.
Cleveland elects to defer until the second half, allowing the Bengals to start on offense.
The Cleveland Browns beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 14-10 on November 20, 2011. Alright. Seriously. Why should anyone care about this? The following week the Cincinnati Bengals beat the Browns 23-20, setting forth what amounts to be an 11-game losing streak entering Week Six. It's the longest losing streak in Browns history, tying 11 straight losses during the 1974-75 seasons.
Ironically Cleveland broke that streak in 1975 with a 20-point fourth quarter that led to a 35-23 win at home against the Cincinnati Bengals, who were 8-1 when they played on November 23.
However the current streak, dating back to last November, could set a franchise record with 12 losses if/when the Cincinnati Bengals beat the Browns.
Despite the announcement that Robert Geathers will start at LDE with Nate Clements starting at safety and Terence Newman starting at corner in place of Clements, there's actually no changes in the defensive starting lineup from last weekend against the Miami Dolphins.
Linebacker / Defensive End Dontay Moch will play in his first game this season as a backup, projected as a pass rushing specialist during passing downs.
The Cincinnati Bengals have already announced their Captains today against the Cleveland Browns, who will head out to midfield for the opening coin toss.
Andrew Whitworth and Jermaine Gresham are named the team's captains on offense, Domata Peko and Robert Geathers on defense and Dan Skuta on special teams.
The 46-man active roster for the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns have been announced.
Winds are around 20 MPH with gusts reportedly between 30-40 MPH.
One of the more visually intense properties for Sunday's game between the Bengals and Browns is Cleveland's 26th-ranked rushing defense. Of the five games they've played this season, the Browns have allowed over 100 yards rushing to four teams, including 243 yards rushing to the New York Giants last weekend -- Browns linebacker D'Qwell Jackson left with a second quarter concussion.
The one team that didn't post 100 yards rushing? The Cincinnati Bengals in Week Two. BenJarvus Green-Ellis led all Bengals players with 21 carries for 75 yards rushing. Andy Dalton (three carries, four yards) and Cedric Peerman (one carry, one yard) rounded out the participation of Cincinnati's mediocre rushing offense.
During three of the Browns first five games, they've allowed only two one-hundred yard rushers in LeSean McCoy (110 yards, Week One) and Ahmad Bradshaw (200 yards, Week Five). Bills running back Tashard Choice also gained 91 yards during Buffalo's 24-14 Week Two win over the Browns.
The Cincinnati Bengals on the other hand have only surpassed 100 yards rushing twice in five games this year. Week One against the Baltimore Ravens, during BenJarvus Green-Ellis' only serviceable game this year and Week Four against the Jacksonville Jaguars, where 48 yards rushing was attached from Peerman's fake punt on special teams.
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