Bengals 27, Browns 17
Turning point: Bengals quarterback Bruce Gradkowski caught the Browns sleeping and snapped by the ball before they could get into their defensive alignment. In the midst of the confusion, the Browns left rookie wide receiver A.J. Green uncovered. Gradkowski connected with Green for a 41-yard touchdown pass with 4:28 left in the fourth quarter. The Bengals never trailed again.
Hero: Gradkowski. His awareness led to the bizarre, game-winning touchdown.
Goat: Browns coach Pat Shurmur. He knows there’s no excuse for the defense being unprepared. The Browns must have an emergency plan and know how to use it if they find themselves caught off guard.
Key stats: The Browns were 4-of-15 on third down, and they committed 11 penalties for 72 yards.
Bottom line: The break down by the Browns’ defense was the most glaring miscue, but there were several other mistakes. The Browns must address their overall sloppiness if they hope to rebound from their seventh consecutive season-opening loss.
— Nate Ulrich