The Bengals went on the road and demolished a division opponent in the Cleveland Browns. With a final score of 37-3, the Bengals did pretty much everything right in this game. But, let's look at our keys to the game to see if Cincinnati followed our game plan for the win.
A.J. Green demands respect
Green was a force in this game. It didn't matter who the Browns had covering him. Andy Dalton got the ball to Green early and was rewarded. Green ended up with 5 catches for 128 yards and a touchdown. With Green spreading out the defense early, the Bengals could do pretty much whatever they wanted on offense. The Browns had no answer for the Bengals on Sunday.
Cover Gary Barnidge
Barnidge was able to rack up 5 catches for 59 yards on Sunday. He was the prime target for Browns quarterback Austin Davis all day. The Bengals did a good job of tackling as soon as he made a catch and covered him when he was the target. Cincinnati took the Browns' best receiving weapon out of the game with a great defensive game plan.
Don't let Duke go
I thought the Browns might focus on Duke Johnson to see what they had in the young running back. He did see some action but was held two carries of two yards on the day. Isaiah Crowell had a decent day with an average of over 5 yards a carry but finished with 62 yards. The Bengals shut down the running game and really didn't allow the Browns any momentum all day.
Keep some distance
In a game where you are supposed to win easily, the worst thing to do is let a team hang around. If that happens, a fluke play could cause an upset. The Bengals didn't let the Browns think they had any shot in this game. The score at the half was 20-3. The Bengals then tacked on two more touchdowns in the third quarter. Cincinnati stomped the life out of the Browns and the Cleveland fans en route to their 10th win of the season.
Pressure Austin Davis
Geno Atkins was a difference maker in this game. Even though he failed to make the stat sheet in the first half, he continuously pushed the offensive line back and disrupted Austin Davis in the pocket. The Bengals as a team finished with three sacks. Carlos Dunlap added to his yearly total and is on pace to set his season career record, which he currently has tied with 9.5 sacks on the season, the same amount he had in his rookie season.
The Bengals host Pittsburgh this weekend, look out for our keys to that game later in the week.