The Browns have typically made this a competitive rivalry and won at least one game vs Cincinnati in six of the past eight seasons, but the Bengals made sure that wouldn't happen this year as they took a commanding lead early and went on to win with ease.
Here is a look at this week's winners and losers from Round 2 of the Battle of Ohio.
Presnap Andy Dalton
While Andy Dalton is in the midst of his best NFL season, he's always been one of the league's better quarterbacks when it came to presnap reads. That was on display on the Bengals' second offensive drive down at the goal line with Cincy facing a 3rd-and-goal situation from the 3-yard line.
On the play, the Bengals came out in a five-wide shotgun set, which led to the Browns having just five men in the box. Dalton saw it and immediately went up to Russell Bodine and called a QB sneak. He ran it right into the end zone for the game's first score.
Dalton, in shotgun, shouted instructions (changing play?), takes snap under center and runs into the endzone https://t.co/2LM7dCXZw0— Josh Kirkendall (@Josh_Kirkendall) December 6, 2015
That was a great read by Dalton that led to an easy score. It's these kinds of plays he's been making throughout his career, but more so over the past two seasons (Week 8 vs Ravens in 2014 comes to mind). Dalton looks as comfortable and in command of this offense as he's ever looked, and his ability to make good presnap reads is a big reason why.
It's been a nice two-week stretch for A.J. Green after he caught just one touchdown in seven games prior to last week's two-score performance against the Rams. Green got going early vs the Browns with a 57-yard grab in the first quarter that set up the Bengals' first touchdown:
Dalton hits Green on a 57 yard pass, reaching the CLE-27. https://t.co/5LD8kAuN0l— Josh Kirkendall (@Josh_Kirkendall) December 6, 2015
Green would then be the one to score the next Cincy touchdown as he blew past Tramon Williams for the score:
TOUCHDOWN!!! Dalton and Green expose broken coverage. https://t.co/WzCbpyaFmi— Josh Kirkendall (@Josh_Kirkendall) December 6, 2015
Green would continue his monster day with a beautiful 20-yard grab that was initially ruled a score, but was determined that Green was down at the 1-yard line:
They initially called it a touchdown. Will be reviewed. https://t.co/aV1mgmWFzp— Josh Kirkendall (@Josh_Kirkendall) December 6, 2015
That led to an easy Jeremy Hill touchdown that gave the Bengals a 27-3 lead. That's three touchdown drives in this game in which Green made big plays to help Cincy get into the end zone. He finished the game wih five grabs for 128 yards and that touchdown, giving him seven for the season.
No player in the NFL has intercepted more passes this season than Bengals safety Reggie Nelson. He's now picked off a pass in four straight games, giving him an NFL-high seven for the season. His latest came in the first half as he intercepted Austin Davis at the Cincinnati 42-yard line and returned it 31 yards.
Reggie Nelson with another interception (his seventh on the season). Shesh. https://t.co/DIubnbdFM8— Josh Kirkendall (@Josh_Kirkendall) December 6, 2015
That led to a Bengals field goal and a 20-0 lead as the Bengals further took control of the game and never looked back. Nelson was all over the field in this game against the pass and run and was a big reason why Cleveland didn't get into the end zone.
Jeremy Hill in Cleveland
It's clear Jeremy Hill loves playing in Cleveland based on how his first two trips there have gone. Last year in Cleveland, Hill ran over the Browns to the tune of 148 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries. This time around, Hill ran through the Browns for 98 yards and one score on 22 carries.
Even when Hill was getting hit at the line of scrimmage, he was still fighting his tail off just to get 1-2 yards and avoid negative plays. That's something he wasn't doing enough off earlier this season as Hill failed to top 63 yards rushing in his first 10 games.
It looks safe to say Hill has his swagger back, which is bad news for every opposing defense.
Dre Kirkpatrick and Penalties
Penalties by Dre Kirkpatrick are sadly something Bengals fans must watch far too often. Kirkpatrick's latest bad penalty was a facemask as he was attempting a tackle on Brian Hartline after Hartline beat Kirkpatrick for an eight-yard catch on 3rd-and-1.
Other than that, Kirkpatrick actually had a good game vs the Browns, but these penalties cannot keep happening. They're eventually going to cost the Bengals in a close game if they do. Adam Jones actually also had a bad horse collar and face mask call on him, the face mask penalty was declined in favor of the horse collar call. In a blowout game like this, it doesn't matter, but in the future it could.
Josh Shaw and Bengals Corners
The Bengals can't get a break at cornerback right now. At one point vs the Browns, linebacker Emmanuel Lamur was lining up as a the slot corner. Normal slot man Leon Hall was out with a back injury, and rookie Josh Shaw was the man filling in there.
However, Shaw suffered a scary back injury in the first half that knocked him out for the rest of the game. Depending on when Hall is able to come back, the Bengals may be down to Dre Kirkpatrick, Adam Jones and Troy Hill at corner when practice resumes on Wednesday.