Frank Geib `15
The Browns struggled Sunday in Cincinnati as the Bengals dominated almost the whole game. The game was a great opportunity for the Browns, as winning this weekend and next, against the Steelers would have actually given the Browns control of the division with 4 divisional wins. Instead the Browns, after a 41-20 loss to the Bengals, find themselves on the outside looking in. In fact, when the announcers on Sunday Night Football discussed the AFC North picture, they mentioned the 4-6 Ravens and the 4-6 Steelers with a chance but did not even regard the 4-6 Browns. This is how the Browns season went from a great opportunity to a normal last place season in the AFC North and it all happened somewhere between the first and second quarter.
The game started out great for Cleveland, as Joe Haden had two interceptions in the first quarter, both deep in the Bengal’s own territory and one he returned for a touchdown. However, the offense struggled to find the endzone when they reached the redzone and a pair of field goals along with Haden’s pick six led to a 13-0 lead early. That lead would quickly fade with some drastic mistakes by the offense and special teams. The Bengals blocked two punts, forced a fumble, and caught an interception. The fumble and one of the punt blocks were returned to the house while the other two mistakes gave Andy Dalton and crew great field position. The bengals put up 31 points in the second quarter and surprisingly, the Cleveland defense was not to blame.
The second half began and it appeared that the Browns would put up a fight by scoring on a touchdown pass from Campbell to Gordon and cutting the lead to 11. However, that would be the end of the scoring for Cleveland. The Bengals solidified their division lead with 10 more points in the fourth quarter and defeated the Browns 41-20. They improved to 7-4 and control the division over the Steelers, Ravens, and Browns. If the Browns want to make the playoffs, they must turn the season around very quickly. Next week’s game against Pittsburgh will determine if the Browns have any life left this year.