The Battle of Ohio had prime time coverage, as the Bengals and Browns met on Thursday Night Football. The Bengals took care of business in prime-time and looked like the 8-0 team they became. Cincinnati handled the Browns 31-10. The win set a franchise record for the new and improved Bengals.
It’s time for the country to start taking the Cincinnati Bengals seriously. On three days’ rest, after an emotional win over the Steelers, the Bengals played flawless, mistake free football under the lights. Bengals’ left tackle Andrew Whitworth was pumped, via the Bengals official site.
“If we can score a lot of points and play defense like that…No matter what any narrative is, no matter what anybody thinks about us… the bottom line is if you play defense and score on offense, you’re going to be have to deal with us every week.”
After allowing a close game in the first half, the Bengals’ defense shut down a scrambling Johnny Manziel to dominate the Browns in the second half.
The Browns (2-7) took the opening kickoff and had limited success on offense before giving the ball over to the Bengals. Browns punter Andy Lee kicked the ball away from the Bengals’ Adam Jones to avoid any chance of the dangerous punt return threat having a chance. The kick went out-of-bounds, in Bengals territory near midfield.
The Bengals proceeded to march 63 yards in 10 plays to score the first points of the game. The Bengals came out looking sharp and lived up to their undefeated record. They took advantage of what was given to them and engineered a methodical drive that ended with Andy Dalton connecting with Tyler Eifert for the go-ahead touchdown.
The Bengals got some help from the Browns on their next scoring drive. Defensive lineman Randy Starks gave Cincinnati new life after their drive stalled. A taunting foul on a fourth down play gave the Bengals first-and-goal at the Cleveland 3-yard line. That led to another Dalton to Eifert strike. The Bengals were up 14-3, and the game was shaping up to be a lopsided affair.
Manziel and the Cleveland offense wouldn’t give in. The Browns took the ball at their 8-yard line and covered 92 yards in 4:15. Rolling from the pocket again, Manziel found Duke Johnson Jr. cutting across the field for a 12-yard touchdown. The half ended with the Bengals holding a 14-10 lead over the scrappy Browns.
The rout was officially on when Dalton found his favorite target for the third time. Tyler Eifert put a beautiful move on a defender that had no chance to catch him and he glided into the end zone to put the Bengals up 31-10.
The Brown’s offense is often heavily criticized. But the defense has had its share of problems. According to NFL Network, the Bengals didn’t turn the ball over and only punted twice in the first 56 minutes of the game. The Browns have been disappointing after a promising campaign last year.
The Browns were stifled by the swarming defense of the Bengals. After adjusting to the rollouts from Manziel, the defense sacked him three times to put an exclamation point on the prime time blowout.
[Feature Photo by Andy Lyons / Getty Images]