Browns score against Bengals, takeaway: Cleveland terrifies Joe Burrow and Cincinnati, wins big on Halloween

Browns score against Bengals, takeaway: Cleveland terrifies Joe Burrow and Cincinnati, wins big on Halloween

Like an older brother stealing their siblings’ Halloween candy, the Browns bullied the Bengals on both sides of the ball Monday. The home team dominated the game while posting a 32-13 victory over their in-state rival on Halloween.

The victory ended a four-game losing streak for Cleveland (3-5, 2-1 in the AFC North), which received big nights from quarterback Jacoby Brissett and Amari Cooper. Brissett threw for 278 yards and a touchdown on 17 of 22 passes. He also ran for a touchdown that gave the Browns an 18-0 lead six minutes into the third quarter. Cooper more than made up for his interception in the first half after catching 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 few weeks with a hip injury. The Bengals (4-4, 0-3 in the AFC North) suffered another significant injury Monday night when cornerback Chidobe Awuzie left the game with a knee injury in the first half.

Browns running back Nick Chubb opened the scoring with a three-yard touchdown out of the wild formation with 5:04 left in the first half. Chubb found himself back in the end zone moments later after the Browns decided to go for two after a Bengals penalty moved the ball towards the 1-yard line. Cade York’s 55-yard field run as time expired gave the Browns an 11-0 halftime lead. His field goal came just after Evan McPherson hooked his 47-yard attempt.

Facing a Bengals defense that hadn’t allowed a second half touchdown on the night, the Browns scored touchdowns in each of their first three practices after intermission. Timely completions from Brissett to Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones, along with a steady diet from Chubb and Kareem Hunt, helped Cleveland take a 25-0 lead for three quarters. The lead increased to 32-6 after Chubb scored his second touchdown with 8:46 to go. Chubb rumbled for 101 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries before exiting the game early with the win in hand.

Why the Browns won

Led by Myles Garrett (1.5 sacks) and Sione Takitaki (13 tackles, one sack), the Browns’ defense picked up the charge early as their offense warmed up. The unit didn’t let go once Cleveland’s offense got going, as the Browns limited Cincinnati to just one trip inside the red zone while keeping Burrow and Co. to just 15 first downs and 4 out of 10 on the third try.

The Browns offensive line, despite an in-game injury to Jack Conklin, dominated the Bengals defensive front. The unit — which received a solid effort from Conklin’s backup, sophomore James Hudson — paved the way for Chubb, Hunt and the rest of the Browns to rush for 172 yards and three touchdowns on 44 carries. The line also gave Brissett time to make several clutch passes that extended scoring drives.

Why the Bengals lost

That game supplants the Bengals’ Week 1 loss to the Steelers as Cincinnati’s worst showing of the season so far. Cincinnati’s offense was completely overwhelmed by Cleveland’s defense, while their defense was unable to overcome the loss of Awuzie.

While it has been playing better in recent weeks, the Bengals offensive line regressed Monday night, allowing five sacks from Burrow. The Cincinnati forward also failed to generate many holes for Joe Mixon, who finished the game with 27 yards on eight carries.

As noted above, Chase’s absence clearly had an impact on the Bengals offense. Burrow was unable to do much in the field while often settling for shorter throws. He completed passes to nine different teammates, but none received more than 49 yards. Most of Burrow’s damage was done in time, as his fourth-quarter touchdown passes to Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins came after the game was decided.

Burrow remains winless against the Browns, the only AFC North team he has yet to beat. He is 0-4 in starts against Cleveland and has 2-2 records against Pittsburgh and Baltimore.


Led by eight, Cincinnati had a chance to get on the scoreboard before halftime when Akeem Davis-Gaither recovered Brissett’s fumble (after being sacked by Sam Hubbard and Vonn Bell) with 1:56 to go. in half time. However, a sack from Burrow and an incomplete pass on third down forced the Bengals to settle for a field goal try. McPherson missed his attempt, which gave the Browns a short field with 40 seconds to work. Brissett completed two passes for 26 yards to set up York’s field goal, which gave the Browns a double-digit halftime lead.

The Bengals could still have turned things around in the first practice of 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 – which set up Brissett’s three-yard touchdown run, extending the Cleveland lead to 18. points.

Game of the game

Cooper put an exclamation mark on his big night late in the fourth quarter. With his team already ahead, 25-6, Cooper pulled off a dive by beating Bell and Bengals first-round pick Dax Hill. The 53-yard catch allowed him to clear the 100-yard mark while setting up the Browns’ final touchdown.


“I loved it. I don’t worry about the destination, I just worry about the journey. … Savoring this moment, enjoying the ups and downs, enjoying this whole process. I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’m very lucky to be in this position, to be surrounded by such great guys, coaches and players. It’s a pleasure every day to walk into the locker room and know let me start. I’ll just enjoy it while I can.” — Brissett, to ESPN’s Lisa Salters, on his temporary role as the Browns’ starting quarterback

And after

The Browns are heading into their Week 9 bye. Cleveland players could spend part of their bye week packing, as four of the Browns’ first five games after their bye will be on the road. The road trip begins with games against foes AFC East Miami and Buffalo before ending with these Bengals in Week 14.

Cincinnati will host Carolina for a short week before spending its bye week. Like Cleveland, the Bengals will have back-to-back road games after their bye week. They’ll take on the Steelers on “Sunday Night Football” in Week 11 before heading to Nashville for a rematch of last year’s Division Round thriller.

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