In a game that needed all of regulation and nearly all of overtime to conclude, the Cincinnati Bengals defeated the Cleveland Browns, 23-20. After scoring 20 unanswered points, the Browns carried a lead, 20-13, into the 4th quarter, but the defense couldn’t stop the Bengals offense from tying the game, on a Palmer to Ocho Cinco touchdown pass, which sent the game into overtime. In overtime, neither offense could move the ball, until the Bengals last possession , which ended in a late field goal, giving the Bengals the win.
Though it didn’t seem like it on paper, this turned out to be a competitive match up, between AFC North rivals. The Bengals were coming off an impressive win over their other divisional rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and stood only behind the Baltimore Ravens in the tough AFC North division, with a 2-1 record. The Cleveland Browns were still searching for their first victory of the season. The game started off well for the Bengals, with Palmer hitting Ocho Cinco for a touchdown in the first quarter.
While the Bengals controlled the game early on, opening up a 14-0 lead, the Browns would fight back, scoring a touchdown before half time. The Browns and Derek Anderson would continue the momentum gained in the second quarter, and score 13 straight points in the second half. Unfortunately for the Browns, Palmer and Ocho Cinco would hook up again, in the 4th quarter, to tie the game at 20.
In the end, the Bengals came away with the victory, but they can’t be happy about the lapses they had in the second and third quarters. The Bengals have been plagued by uneven play in the past, leading fans to wonder which Bengals team would show up each week. This year, Cincinnati has beaten two very good teams, the Green Bay Packers, and Pittsburgh Steelers, then struggled today against the winless Browns. To stay on top of the AFC North, the Bengals will have to play more consistently.
The Browns on the other hand should feel good about the progress they made in the second half of the game. The offense, after starting slowly, looked more alive with Derek Anderson under center, and they were actually able to move the ball with the running and passing game. Cleveland is a long way off from being competitive in their division, but at least they fought hard today, didn’t give up, even when they were down 14-0. The Browns showed heart, and life today.
Ohio, home of the NFL Hall of Fame, you gave us an entertaining game today. The state should be proud of both of your teams. Now, if only you can do something about the Indians.