Like an older brother stealing his siblings’ Halloween candy, Brown bullied the Bengals on both sides of the ball on Monday. The town team dominated the game as they beat their in-state rival 32-13 at Halloween.
The win interrupted a four-game losing streak for Cleveland (3-5, 2-1 in North Asia), who received big nights from quarterbacks Jacoby Brissett and Amari Cooper. Brissett threw for 278 yards and landed in 17 of 22 passes. He also ran for a touchdown that gave Brown an 18-0 lead six minutes into the third quarter. Cooper more than compensated for his interception in the first half after hitting five passes for 131 yards and a touchdown.
Cincinnati’s offense clearly missed All-Pro receiver Ja’Marr Chase, who will be out for at least the next several weeks with a thigh injury. The Bengals (4-4, 0-3 in North Asia) suffered another major injury Monday night when corner back Chidupi Ozzi left the game with a knee injury during the first half.
Declining Browns Nick Chubb opened the scoring with a three-yard touchdown that ran out of a wild cat formation with 5:04 remaining in the first half. Chubb found the end zone again moments later after Brown decided to go for both after a Bengals penalty moved the ball to the 1-yard line. Cady York’s 55-yard field as time runs out gave the Browns an 11-0 lead at halftime. His field goal came after Evan McPherson succeeded in his attempt from 47 yards.
Facing a Bengals defense that wouldn’t allow a second-half touchdown into the night, Brown scored a touchdown in each of their first three drives after the break. Timely completion from Brissett to Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones, along with consistent dieting from Chubb and Kareem Hunt, helped Cleveland to advance 25-0 through three quarters. The lead swelled to 32-6 after Chubb scored his second goal with 8:46 left. Chubb shook for 101 yards and landed twice in 23 times before leaving the match early with a win within reach.
Why did Brown win?
Led by Miles Jarrett (1.5 sacks) and Sion Taketake (13 shots, 1 sack), Brown’s defense bore the load early as they prepared their attack. The unit didn’t subside once the Cleveland offensive began, with Brown limiting Cincinnati to just one trip inside the red while Burrow & Co. held 15 touchdowns first and 4 of 10 in third.
Brown’s offensive line, despite suffering a match injury to Jack Conklin, dominated the Bengals defensive front. The unit — which received a solid effort from Conklin’s replacement James Hudson — set the stage for Chap, Hunt and the rest of Brown for a 172-yard run and three touchdowns on 44 wagons. The streak also gave Brisset time to complete several clutch passes that widened the scoring drives.
Why did the Bengals lose?
This game replaces the Bengals’ Week 1 loss to the Steelers as Cincinnati’s worst performance of the season so far. Cincinnati’s offensive was completely bypassed by Cleveland’s defense, while its defense could not overcome Ozzie’s loss.
Although he’s been playing better in recent weeks, the Bengals’ attacking streak fell on Monday night, allowing five sacks from Burrow. The Cincinnati front also failed to make many holes for Joe Mixon, who finished the game with 27 yards over eight rounds.
As noted above, Chase’s absence clearly affected the Bengals’ offense. Burrow wasn’t able to do much in the way while often settling on shorter throws. He completed passes for nine different teammates but none of them received more than 49 yards. Most of Burrow’s damage occurred in trash time, as his fourth-quarter drop passes to Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins came after the bout.
The Boroughs are still winless against Brown, the only North Asian team they have yet to defeat. He is 0-4 in games against Cleveland and has 2-2 records against Pittsburgh and Baltimore.
Lagging by eight, Cincinnati got a chance to rejoin the scoreboard before halftime when Achim Davis-Geither managed to overcome Brisette’s confusion (after being sacked by Sam Hubbard and Von Bell) with 1:56 left in the inning. However, a bag of Burrow and an incomplete pass in third place forced the Bengals to attempt a field shot. Macpherson missed his attempt, giving Brown a short span with 40 seconds to work with him. Brissett completed two passes for 26 yards to set up York’s field goal, which gave the Browns a double-digit lead in the first half.
The Bengals could still turn the tide on their first drive in the second half. But the defense gave up two third and long conversions — a 26-yard completion from Brissett to Peoples-Jones and a nine-yard run by Chubb — leading Brissett to run on three yards, increasing Cleveland’s lead to 18 points.
play the game
Cooper put an exclamation point on his big night late in the fourth quarter. With his team already up, 25-6, Cooper managed to catch the dive as he beat the Bell and the Bengals in the first round with Dax Hill picking up the middle of the field. The 53-yard catch put him over the 100-yard mark during the Browns final landing setup.
“I loved it. I’m not worried about the destination, I’m just worried about the journey. … Enjoying the moment, enjoying the ups and downs, enjoying everything in the process. I wouldn’t change it for the world. I am so lucky to be in this position, where I am Next to these great guys, coaches and players. It’s a pleasure to walk into the locker room every day and know I’ll get started. I’m going to enjoy it for as long as I can.” – Brissett, to ESPN’s Lisa Salters, on his interim role as quarterback for the Browns
Brown heads into their ninth week of goodbye. Cleveland players may spend some of their farewell week packing their bags, as four of the Browns’ first five games after their farewell will be on the road. The road trip begins with matches against East Asian opponents Miami and Buffalo before concluding with the Bengals in Week 14.
Cincinnati will host Carolina in a short week before going on farewell week. Like the Cleveland, the Bengals will have back-to-back road games after farewell week. They will face the Steelers in “Sunday Night Football” in Week 11 before heading to Nashville for a second game of last year’s action tour.
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