The Bengals not only won the game last night, they looked good doing it. Andy Dalton connected with tight end Tyler Eifert for three touchdowns as the Bengals cruised to their eighth win of the season. Did they follow the blueprint we laid out for them earlier in the week?
Don't believe the curse
Many fans believe the Bengals solved their primetime woes last season in the beating of Denver on Monday Night Football in Week 16. They proved it last night with a nice performance on the national stage. Andy Dalton shed demons and bounced critics as he completed over 70 percent of his passes with 3 touchdowns. The Bengals' defense made adjustments at halftime and this game looked easy. As the team plays the next two games on the national stage, they should continue with the same confidence they showed this week.
Run the football
Cincinnati runners combined for 154 yards rushing in the game. This allowed the rest of the offense to open up and this was a direct reason the second half swung so heavily in favor of the Bengals. Giovani Bernard showed how special he can be when he earned 72 yards on 13 carriers. There is no debate from me on which back is better, they are a perfect compliment to each other and allow the Bengals' run game to stretch deep into the game with fresh legs. The Bengals did an excellent job in establishing the run.
Control Gary Barnidge
The Browns' tight end has been having a great season. Coming into the game, he was tied with Tyler Eifert with 6 touchdowns on the year. This tie was destroyed last night. Barnidge did boast a nice catch of 25 yards. Then, he was done. The Bengals held him to two catches on the evening. The targets were there, but the Bengals' defense was stronger.
Control the emotion of the young Browns
We saw a little dance from Johnny Manziel on the sidelines after the late second quarter touchdown for the Browns. Then, the young quarterback was stopped for the entire second half. There were no Money Manziel gestures and the Browns knew early in the third quarter that their night was over.
Manziel did have a few very nice plays though. One thing he excels at is extending the play. Whether taking off for chunks of yards or scrambling and throwing on the run, he is tough to contain. The Bengals made some halftime adjustments and they were able to contain him well in the second half.
We asked for a comfortable victory and the Bengals answered with a 21 margin in the win. The Bengals didn't settle for field goals and ran off 17 unanswered points in the second half. Tyler Eifert must have looked nine feet tall to Dalton as he found him three times in the redzone for scores. Mohamed Sanu took a reverse 25 yards to the endzone for my favorite touchdown of the night. The Bengals took advantage of their opportunities to score and left no doubt in this game.
All in all, the Bengals followed what we asked of them pretty well. Now it is time to look forward to the next primetime game against the Houston Texans on Monday night. WhoDey!