Browns Dominate Both Sides Of The Ball, Destroy The Bengals 24-3, Tied For First Place
The Cleveland Browns are now tied for first place with a 24-3 pounding of the Cincinnati Bengals that wasn't even close. Brian Hoyer, now 9-3 as a Browns starter, was sharp once again, throwing for 198 yards while the running trio of Terrance West, Ben Tate and Isaiah Crowell each scored a rushing touchdown and combined for 170 yards rushing with West leading the way with 94 yards. Even without Andrew Hawkins or Jordan Cameron as well as fighting the wind at Paul Brown Stadium, Hoyer was able to get the ball to Miles Austin, Travis Benjamin, Taylor Gabriel and Gary Barnidge when needed.
On the other end, the Browns defense was dominating from start to finish against Andy Dalton, who may have had one of his worst games a pro. He threw for 3 interceptions, 2 of them to Buster Skrine, and was off all night. A.J. Green, covered by Joe Haden for most of the night, was a non factor and Greg Little, for all of his "someone will pay" comments, was once again plagued by stone hands and was hit with a personal foul for head butting. Tashaun Gipson also caused a fumble on Jeremy Hill which was recovered by Joe Haden so the Browns had 4 turnovers all together as well as keeping the Bengals to 3 points in 4 quarters.
My take: The Browns are for real. They brought their A game to a Thursday night national audience on the road. Mike Pettine, Jim O'Neil and Kyle Shanahan all had great coached games tonight with the players absolutely ready for this important division series. It also ended their 17 game AFC North road losing streak. Ironically, their last AFC North win on the road was to Cincinnati in 2008. Even with the wind and rain, Brian Hoyer showed his leadership on offense while the Browns were absolutely dominant on defense. The Browns are a viable playoff team at this point. Damn that feels good to type!
Next up: A long 10 day stretch until they face the Houston Texans back in Cleveland. The Browns fans will be pumped for that game.