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Bengals take care of Browns, win second straight, 23-10 in Week 14

The potential trap game was avoided, as the Bengals took care of business and defeated the Browns, lengthening Cleveland’s losing streak.

Cincinnati Bengals v Cleveland Browns Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

It wasn’t pretty, but the Bengals took care of business on the road and improved to 5-7-1 with a victory over the winless Browns. Some had anticipated a potential trap game for Cincinnati, but Marvin Lewis’ team got the job done and kept the Browns in the cellar for another week.

The Bengals dominated the Browns throughout the entire first half, jumping out to a quick 20-0 lead. Things weren’t going perfectly for Cincinnati, but the Browns were the Browns, giving the Bengals plentiful opportunities to take a substantial lead.

Tyler Boyd made a quick impact, taking an end around for 39 yards on the first drive of the half. He ended the half with 85 yards on seven touches. Tyler Eifert capped off the opening drive, catching a 14-yard touchdown pass. He caught another touchdown later on in the half, tallying 48 yards and two scores by halftime and catching every pass on which he was targeted.

Jeremy Hill bounced back after a poor showing against the Eagles, punching in a one-yard touchdown and generating 59 all-purpose yards in the first half on 12 touches. Rex Burkhead also contributed, adding 31 rushing yards on six carries. Hill has only totaled more than 100 yards twice this season, and both of those games were against the Browns.

But the Bengals’ first half dominance, as I mentioned, seemed to be much more of the Browns being the Browns than it was the Bengals playing well. Andy Dalton took four sacks in the first half alone, as the quarterback continued to hold onto the ball despite his offensive line collapsing in front of him.

This particular Browns play epitomized Cleveland’s first half struggles — George Iloka picking off a flea-flicker thrown into triple-coverage:

And if that wasn’t enough, here’s a video of the Browns’ mascot pulling the most Browns mascot move ever:

The Browns did not cross midfield in the entire first half, and RGIII’s passer rating at halftime was an abysmal 0.0. Cincinnati had as many first half touchdowns (three) as the Browns had first down conversions. In fact, Mike Nugent had more missed kicks in the first half (two - one field goal and one extra point) than the Browns had points.

Cleveland finally responded and put points on the board, driving down the field and just barely scoring a one-yard touchdown. Danny Vitale dropped a would-be score on first down, but Griffin snuck in a touchdown on the following play, preserving the Browns from further embarrassment.

Cody Parkey and Nugent swapped field goals late in the game, but the Browns’ effort wasn’t enough, as the Bengals took care of business and earned their second consecutive victory, starting their first winning streak of the year. Cincinnati will host Pittsburgh next week with hopes of playing spoiler after a remarkable effort from Le’Veon Bell today against the Bills. The Bengals’ win keeps Cincinnati in playoff contention — mathematically, at least. They’ll need to build on their momentum and string together three more wins (and have the Steelers and Ravens lose at least one each) for a shot at another playoff berth.