CINCINNATI, Ohio – Johnny Manziel made his second start of the season as the Cleveland Browns visited the unbeaten Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night in an AFC North matchup. The Bengals remained undefeated as they toppled the Browns, 31-10.
The Browns could only get one first down on their initial drive, allowing the Bengals to score on their opening drive. The Bengals lead 7-0 for a short time until the Browns kicked a field goal to close the gap. That field goal was Travis Coons 15th consecutive one made on the year.
The Bengals scored again to increase their lead during the second quarter, but the Browns closed that gap with a touchdown right before the half.
That touchdown, thrown by Johnny Manziel to Duke Johnson was a 92-yard drive, the longest from the Browns since December 2013.
The Browns defense stepped up in the second half, holding the Bengals to a field goal to increase their lead to 17-10.
The Bengals really piled on the Browns in the end of the game. They scored a few more times, as they Browns didn’t score the entire second half.
The Bengals are among four unbeaten teams in the league and are off to the best start in franchise history after rallying for a 16-10 victory at Pittsburgh on Sunday to open a 3 1/2-game lead atop the division. “We’re playing for something greater than being 7-0,” Cincinnati wide receiver A.J. Green said. “We’re trying to win a championship.”
ABOUT THE BROWNS: McCown threw three first-half touchdowns passes last week to spark his team to a 20-7 lead before Cleveland surrendered 27 unanswered points in a 34-20 setback to Arizona to extend its losing streak to three games. The run game has ground to a halt in the past two weeks as Isaiah Crowell was held to 14 yards on 10 carries versus the Cardinals after rushing for only nine yards on eight carries in the previous game versus St. Louis. Tight end Gary Barnidge has hauled in six scoring passes in the last six games while catching at least six passes five times in that span.
ABOUT THE BENGALS: Dalton had his worst performance of the season last week, throwing multiple interceptions for the first time and posting a QB rating of 64.7, but he regrouped to throw a go-ahead touchdown pass to Green with just under three minutes to play. Green registered a season-high 11 receptions for 118 yards and his first scoring pass in four games to offset a ground game that was held to 78 yards. Vontaze Burfict had five tackles in his season debut and could see a heavy workload with fellow linebacker Rey Maualuga dealing with a calf injury.