It wasn't clean. It wasn't overpowering. Still, the 2009 Cincinnati Bengals beat the Cleveland Browns with a strong rushing offense and an aggressive defense. The passing offense struggled throughout the bulk of the game. Many of Palmer's throws were hurried because of a decent Browns pass rush and a protection unit that struggled. But where the offensive line struggled on pass protection, they dominated the rushing game. Cincinnati's rushing offense picked up over 200 yards on the ground, with the newest Bengal, Larry Johnson, rushing for 107 yards on 22 carries.
Cincinnati initiated the first score on their opening possession, going 61 yards on 14 snaps with Shayne Graham converting a 37-yard field goal. The Bengals defense limited Cleveland to five punts in the first half and only 46 yards of total offense and, more importantly, no points. Cincinnati's offense did hit a wall, punting on back-to-back possessions that only gained 30 yards combined. Then, with seven minutes left in the first half, the Bengals offense went 63 yards on 11 plays in 6:38, scoring a touchdown on a four-yard pass to tight end J.P. Foschi to take a 10-0 first half lead. Trying to score points before half time, Cleveland promptly lost three yards on three plays giving the football back to Cincinnati with 21 seconds left. With third-and-16, Shaun Rogers horse-collared Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer, giving Cincinnati 15 yards with an additional down. Shayne Graham converted the 53-yard field goal and the Bengals took a 13-0 lead into the lockerroom.
Cleveland's offense came out with a no-huddle offense and moved the ball well on their opening second-half possession, scoring on a nine-yard touchdown run by quarterback Brady Quinn, reducing the deficit to 13-7. Cincinnati's offense continued to pound the football with Larry Johnson on the ensuing possession, moving the football 62 yards on 11 plays for a 16-7 lead after Graham's 28-yard field goal. After that, the Bengals defense shut down the Browns offense and the Bengals were content with killing the clock with a nine-point lead.
The Bengals are now 8-3, assured of a non-losing season for the first time since 2005. The Bengals have swept the AFC North for the first time in franchise history.
Cincinnati will host the Detroit Lions next week. More importantly, the Ravens and Steelers play tonight. If the Steelers lose, then the Bengals will have a two-game (really a three-game when considering tie-breakers) lead in the division. with five games left to play during the regular season. Check back tonight. We'll have a Sunday Night Football Open Thread.
|Offensive Yards Total||306||169|
|Time of Possession||37:52||21:49|