Win the games you're supposed to win.
Last week, Cincinnati secured an easy 31-7 win over the punchless St. Louis Rams. This week, it was Cincinnati taking advantage against a lifeless Browns squad to the tune of a 37-3 victory. The win improves Cincinnati's record to 10-2, their best start since 1975. The Bengals will host Pittsburgh next week; a win will give the Bengals the AFC North championship.
While the offense had their way, the defense was equally, if not more, impressive. There are obvious deficiencies compounding the deflated Browns' roster, however the defense had a performance worthy of praise. In addition to a pair of turnovers on downs, the defense forced two turnovers (Reggie Nelson interception, Carlos Dunlap deflection on a backward pass that was recovered by Rey Maualuga) and routinely assaulted quarterback Austin Davis.
Cincinnati opened the scoring with over three minutes remaining in the first quarter, thanks to an Andy Dalton three-yard run, concluding a 10-play, 84-yard drive with an assist from A.J. Green's 57-yard reception. Browns quarterback Austin Davis led Cleveland's response with completions of 21, 18, 6, and 24, reaching the Bengals 34-yard line. However, as immediate as their offense ignited, it sputtered like an empty tank on route 42. An ineffective Isaiah Crowell run, incomplete to Travis Benjamin, a Gary Barnidge pass interference, and eight-yard screen, the Browns, electing to go for it on fourth down, turn it over on Michael Johnson's quarterback sack.
The Bengals, who took over from their own 46-yard line, scored within three plays, including a pair of A.J. Green receptions that went for 22 and 23 yards, the latter going for a touchdown to give Cincinnati a 14-0 lead. Cleveland attempted another fourth down conversion, but Adam Jones stifled Davis' intended receiver, forcing the quarterback to look at another unavailable target. Mike Nugent converted a 44-yard field goal on the ensuing possession, giving the Bengals a 17-0 lead. Cincinnati tacked another field goal with over three minutes remaining in the second quarter. Cleveland added their own field goal, concluding a 10-play two-minute drill as the first half expired.
The Browns opened the third quarter with an efficient 32-yard drive, with help from an Adam Jones (face mask/horse collar), setting up a 47-yard field goal. Carlos Dunlap, with a piece of Travis Coons' field goal attempt, was credited with a block. Cincinnati pieced together a 62-yard touchdown drive, capped by Jeremy Hill's one-yard score, expanding the Bengals lead, 27-3.
By the end of the game, the Bengals embarrassed the Browns and swept the 2015 Battle of Ohio, with many rookies on the field and two players recording their first NFL receptions, C.J. Uzomah and Mario Alford. On defense, rookieJosh Shaw played well before leaving the game with a back injury. Troy Hill who was promoted from the Practice Squad yesterday also got in on a few defensive snaps, especially toward the end of the game.