I have to be honest here. As soon as Andy Dalton threw his second interception of the first quarter, I turned the television off. It was barely ten minutes into the game, and I was done.
Dalton, at that point, had thrown eight interception in just nine quarters of play. However, he quickly worked to make amends to the chorus of boos in Paul Brown Stadium. With a 25-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Gresham and then a six-yard strike to Mohamed Sanu, the boos began to turn into cheers once more. The Cincinnati Bengals had taken their first lead of the game, and they wouldn’t look back. That’s about when I turned the game back on, for those who were wondering.
I don’t mean to make Dalton look like the unsung hero, turning the page to lead his team to an unprobable victory. Indeed, the offense only mustered 224 total yards, and Dalton didn’t even break the century mark through the air. The Browns outgained the Bengals by over 200 yards, and yet, the Bengals were able to secure a win to the tune of four turnovers.
The Bengals defense and special teams should be getting a round of freebies from the offense at the local bar this evening. Vontaze Burfict had a 13 yard fumble returned for a touchdown. Meanwhile, Jayson DiManche had a blocked punt that Tony Dye returned for a score. James Harrison recorded his first interception in stripes, and Cincinnati’s offense was repeatedly given a short field to work with.
Cleveland’s running game hasn’t found its place in the offense since the trading of Trent Richardson, and the Bengals defense did a fairly good job of making Jason Cambell’s life miserable. He matched a career high with 54 attempts. That’s not something you want from a quarterback that is still fitting in with Cleveland’s starting role. He had the 74-yard bomb to Josh Gordon, but that was about the extent of his success in the second edition of this year’s Battle of Ohio.
The Bengals re-secured a firm hold on the division with a 41-20 win, and can watch the AFC play out a little as they enjoy a bye week.