The Browns (4-6) fell to the AFC North-leading Cincinnati Bengals (7-4) 41-20 today in rainy, windy conditions at Paul Brown Stadium.
Final: Bengals 41, Browns 20
The Browns drove deep into Bengals territory late in the game but came up empty and never challenged the Bengals’ lead. Cincinnati put the game out of reach early in the fourth quarter thanks to a former Brown. In a jumbo package from the 2-yard line, Dalton found Alex Smith wide open for a touchdown and a 38-20 lead. That was set up by a 13-yard run to the outside by Giovani Bernard. Campbell finished the game 27-of-56 for 248 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. The Bengals scored 41 points but had only 224 total yards and 10 first downs.
End 3Q: Bengals 31, Browns 20
The rain and winds have reached Cincinnati, and the offense has slowed down a bit aside from a 74-yard bomb from Jason Campbell to Josh Gordon for a touchdown. That score made it 31-20. Campbell was later intercepted, but the Bengals offense still hasn’t done much today in terms of first downs or yardage. Earlier in the quarter, the Browns faced a fourth-and-5 in Bengals’ territory and went for it, though a Campbell pass to Gordon was knocked away.
End 2Q: Bengals 31, Browns 13
The second quarter belonged to the Bengals. After falling behind 13-0, the Bengals scored 31 unanswered points in a flurry and set a franchise record for points in a quarter. Two plays into the quarter Andy Dalton found Jermaine Gresham for a 25-yard touchdown pass. Later, a Spencer Lanning punt was partially blocked, giving the Bengals terrific field position. That short field resulted in a 6-yard touchdown pass to Mohamed Sanu, giving the Bengals a 14-13 lead. The next Browns punt was blocked again and returned by Tony Dye 24 yards for a touchdown. Vontaze Burfict then scooped up a Chris Ogbonnaya fumble and returned it 13 yards for a touchdown. The Bengals’ initial touchdown came after an interception. The second touchdown pass was after partially blocked punt. Then a blocked punt return and a fumble return for touchdowns. The offense, meanwhile, has just 108 yards of offense.
End 1Q: Browns 13, Bengals 0
The first quarter belonged to Joe Haden. Already holding a 3-0 lead, Haden intercepted Andy Dalton and returned it to the Bengals' 14-yard line. The Browns' offense couldn't find the end zone but added another Billy Cundiff field goal for a 6-0 lead. Haden then intercepted Dalton a second time in the quarter and returned this one for a touchdown and a 13-0 lead. Just before the quarter ended, Jason Campbell had a pass deflected and intercepted by James Harrison. He powered his way to the end zone as well but a block-in-the-back flag negated the touchdown. Earlier in the quarter, Chris Ogbonnaya ran up the middle, cut past Bengals cornerback Terence Newman and ran for a 43-yard gain.
Inactives: Browns – Tight end MarQueis Gray (hamstring), linebacker Brandon Magee, center Patrick Lewis, offensive tackle Martin Wallace, guard Garrett Gilkey, nose tackle Ishmaa’ily Kitchen and offensive tackle Reid Fragel. Note: Guard Jason Pinkston is active for the first time this season. He was listed as questionable entering the weekend. He missed the first nine games of the season after suffering a high-ankle sprain in a preseason game Aug. 15 against the Detroit Lions. Bengals – Safety Chris Crocker (hamstring), halfback Rex Burkhead, middle linebacker Rey Maualuga (knee), right guard Kevin Zeitler (foot), guard Tanner Hawkinson, defensive tackle Devon Still (elbow) and wide receiver Ryan Whalen.
Lineup changes: Browns – none announced. Bengals – Mike Pollack will start at right guard in place of Zeitler. Vincent Rey will start at middle linebacker in place of Maualuga.
Ryan Lewis’ top storylines: 1. This game carries major AFC North implications. With a win, the Browns would trail the Bengals by only half a game in the division and would own the tiebreaker. The Bengals were 6-2 but have dropped the past two games to the Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens. If the Bengals win, they would have a stranglehold on the division moving forward. 2. Today is the next installment of the Joe Haden vs. A.J. Green series. In the Browns’ Week 4 win over the Bengals, Green was held to just 51 yards receiving on seven catches. Green has had at least 100 yards receiving in every game except for one since facing Haden. 3. Jason Campbell will make his first start against the Bengals as the Browns’ starting quarterback, and he’ll do it with the bruised ribs he suffered in the Ravens game Nov. 3. Campbell said last week that he won’t wear any extra padding to protect his ribs. Coach Rob Chudzinski said on Monday that Campbell looked good and had no issues. 4. Before the Browns’ bye week, Chudzinski and offensive coordinator Norv Turner indicated that fullback Chris Ogbonnaya could receive a boost in carries if healthy — he’s been dealing with injured ribs. Starting running back Willis McGahee is averaging only 2.6 yards per carry this season and the team has just one rushing touchdown. 5. Bengals starting quarterback Andy Dalton has struggled with interceptions of late. Dalton threw seven interceptions in the Bengals’ first eight games this season but has been intercepted six times in the past two weeks. Through much of October, he was on a run of three consecutive games with a quarterback rating of at least 105.9. He hasn’t topped a rating of 55 the past two weeks.
Preview stories via Ohio.com: 1. Browns confident calm, steady influence that Jason Campbell has provided during his revival will help them against Bengals. 2. Key Matchup: Run defense vs Bengals running back Giovani Bernard. 3. Browns vs. Bengals predictions by Nate Ulrich, Marla Ridenour and Ryan Lewis. 4. Five most-know numbers for Sunday. 5. Quote of the Week. 6. Weather could force Browns to put recent focus on running game to test vs. Bengals. 7. Notebook: Tashaun Gipson still hungry despite coach’s praise, hoping to capitalize on Andy Dalton’s ‘questionable’ throws. 8. Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton confident secondary featuring Joe Haden, Tashaun Gipson can limit Bengals.