Cincinnati Bengals Grades Against The Cleveland Browns

Matt Sullivan

Grading the Cincinnati Bengals performance against the Cleveland Browns in a position-by-position breakdown.

QUARTERBACK

Andy Dalton arguably had one of his worst games in three years with the Cincinnati Bengals. Two fumbles (though one was a bad snap exchange) and a fourth quarter interception led to multiple turnovers in the second half. His 58.2 passer rating against the Browns was his third-worst in the regular season (of his career) and he missed multiple deep throws to A.J. Green. In fact, Dalton was 4 of 17 on passes that traveled 10 yards or more.

Grade: F

RUNNING BACK

There just wasn't anything there. BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Giovani Bernard combined for 50 yards on 16 carries. Though most of that blame should go to the offensive line, neither running back did anything special to warrant a grade higher than a C and the pass blocking wasn't very effective early.

Grade: C

TIGHT ENDS

Despite the loss, I really like the production from the Bengals tight ends so far this year. In fact, my only disappointment is that there hasn't been more involvement from this group. Through four games, Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert have combined for 30 receptions for 340 yards receiving. Unfortunately, neither have scored a touchdown this year. Against the Browns, Gresham and Eifert combined for six receptions for 92 yards receiving.

Grade: B-

WIDE RECEIVER

The wide receiver position continues to struggle. Whether it's bad throws or dropped passes, they're not making the impact that was expected of them during training camp. Is that on them as a group? Bad play-calling? Inability to generated separation. Against the Browns, A.J. Green, Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones were targeted 24 times and combined for 10 receptions and 70 yards receiving.

Grade: C-

OFFENSIVE LINE

Despite Andy Dalton taking two quarterback sacks, the offensive line was strong in pass protection allowing no more hits on the quarterback and only five hurries according to Pro Football Focus (NFL Game Book recorded two hurries). Where the offensive line really struggled was on the ground. Kyle Cook struggled mightily and Andrew Whitworth's confusion led to Desmond Bryant's fourth down stop in the second quarter. Overall, BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Giovani Bernard averaged 3.1 yards/rush and the longest run was an Andy Dalton 10-yard scramble.

Grade: B-

DEFENSIVE LINE

Johnson had arguably his worst game of the season, generating only one hit on the quarterback and only two tackles (one assist). Carlos Dunlap generated 1.5 quarterback sacks and two hits on the quarterback, but of the 38 pass rushes Sunday afternoon, that was it. Geno Atkins was the defensive superstar with 1.5 sacks, three hits on the quarterback and four additional hurries. Beyond that, this group was handled by the Browns offensive line.

Grade: C+ (D without Geno Atkins)

LINEBACKERS

As is the case every week, Vontaze Burfict led the team with 14 tackles and Rey Maualuga finished second on the team with 11. Maualuga also led the team with four stops (tackles that constitute an offensive failure). James Harrison played 44 snaps, but recorded only four tackles, one for a loss. Harrison rushed the quarterback nine times but generated only one hurry. Solid performance from this group, but nothing special.

Grade: B

SECONDARY

Adam Jones allowed 107 yards receiving and an opposing quarterback rating of 107.2. Brandon Ghee made his debut and allowed 25 yards receiving on two receptions with 17 yards after the catch. Taylor Mays had some nice stops, however Browns tight end Jordan Cameron beat him for a touchdown.Terence Newman and George Iloka were the strongest of the bunch. Newman allowed only three receptions for 19 yards receiving. Iloka posted six tackles (tied with Newman for third on the team) and knocked down (nearly intercepted) the only pass that targeted a receiver that he covered.

Grade: C+

SPECIAL TEAMS

The only group to score points for the Bengals with two Mike Nugent field goals. Additionally, three of Kevin Huber's four punts landed inside the 20-yard line. The return game was ineffective (add your Brandon Tate joke) and the kickoff coverage team allowed two 30-yard kickoff returns.

Grade: B-

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