Any discussion of the Cleveland Browns’ 17-6 win over Cincinnati on Sunday has to begin with the Browns defense.
Emboldened by their success in limiting Minnesota star Adrian Petersen to 88 yards rushing, the Browns limited Cincinnati’s Giovani Bernard and BenJarvus Green-Ellis to 50 yards on 16 carries.
“The thing is, our front seven, they can control the run,” cornerback Joe Haden told the team’s website.
Haden and the Cleveland defensive backs did their jobs as well, as the Bengals’ top wideout, A.J. Green, was limited to 51 yards on seven receptions.
Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton completed 23-of-42 passes, and like Christian Ponder of Minnesota one week earlier, he did not throw a touchdown pass.
Cincinnati didn’t score any touchdowns, as the Bengals only managed a pair of field goals by Mike Nugent.
This allowed the Browns offense to accomplish just enough to win. Tailback Willis McGahee did not set the field ablaze, put he increased his output from nine yards against Minnesota to 46 against the Bengals.
Brian Hoyer enjoyed the best day of his five-year career, completing 25-of-38 passes for 269 yards. He did not throw an interception after throwing three against the Vikings. Hoyer also completed touchdown passes to Jordan Cameron and Chris Ogbonnaya.
As implausible as it sounded just three days ago on Browns 101, the Ravens lost to the Buffalo Bills, so the Browns (2-2) are actually tied for first place in the AFC North with the Bengals and Ravens.
Cleveland doesn’t have much time to celebrate, as the Buffalo Bills (2-2) are coming to town on Thursday night.
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