This was an ugly win for the Bengals, but a must win. Cincinnati could not afford to drop to 0-2 to start the season, especially within their own division. With this win against the Browns and a Ravens loss in Philadelphia the Bengals make up a little bit of ground in the AFC North. Always with a win there is a positive point of emphasis, in this case there is also a bad and even an ugly.
The Bengals won. Cincy QB Andy Dalton tied a career best 3 TD passes on 318 yards after getting kept out of the end zone last week in Baltimore. Dalton completed over 77% of his passes with 5 of 7 incompletions going towards WR A.J. Green who worked in double-coverage for most of the day. That’s a lot better than the 59.5% he completed last week. His passer rating was abysmal last week at 65.3, this week he achieved a career best 128.2 rating. Also a career high was his 10.26 avg yards per pass.
Another high point for the Bengals was their short yardage runs, an area they severely struggled with a year ago and a key reason why they picked up RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis from New England.
The Bengals only had 3 short yardage (4 yards or less for the 1st down) situations against the Browns in which they attempted to run for the first down.
The first test was in the 1st quarter on 2nd and 3 when BJG ran for only a yard and failed to cross the first down line.
On the same drive Andy Dalton tucked the ball away for a 2-yd gain on 4th & 1.
The 3rd and final short yardage situation came in the 4th quarter when Green-Ellis ran for a 7-yd gain on 3rd & 1 @ the Cincinnati 43. The 1st down extended the drive which led to a Bengals TD on a 50 yard strike from Dalton to WR Andrew Hawkins.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis had 75 yards rushing on 18 attempts which brings his totals to 39 attempts for 166 yards for a 4.3 avg and 1 TD. He still hasn’t fumbled, ever.
CB Adam Jones had an 81 yard punt return for a TD in the first quarter to start the scoring and get the Bengals on the board early.
There were several overthrown deep passes by Andy Dalton, but he did complete 77.4% of his throws in total.
The Bengals desperately need Carlos Dunlap to return to action and help his defense generate a pass-rush. Brownsrookie QB Brandon Weeden was allowed to complete over 70% of his passes for 322 yards and a 8.7 avg as the Bengals mustered only 2 sacks.
Cincinnati’s defense still hasn’t figured out how to stop the run, which will be a problem going forward. Browns rookie RB Trent Richardson carried the ball 19 times for 109 yards, an astonishing 5.7 yards per carry. 5 of 7 top tacklers for the Bengals were defensive backs, which not only means they were picked on in the passing game, but the Bengals front seven allowed far too many runs to get into the second level of their defense.