While the Cincinnati Bengals defense certainly played well enough to get the win Sunday, their offense put them in a position where they essentially had to win the game.
While that’s a lot to ask of a defense in today’s offensive-minded NFL, the opportunity was there for them to do it. But there were occasional mental lapses that led to the Browns scoring 17 points in a game that could have been a shutout.
The Bengals allowed nine third-down conversions to a team that had 11 in its three previous games, they didn’t come up with a turnover, and allowed Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer to engineer touchdown drives of 95 and 91 yards in his third NFL start.
The defense had four tackles for loss on run plays while Cleveland only manged 3.0 yards per carry, but the Browns got the big runs when they needed them.
With 7:29 remaining in the first quarter, the Browns faced a 3rd-and-1 at their 14-yard line. A stop here would have put the offense in great filed position, but instead, Chris Ogbonnaya burst through a hole off left tackle and powered through Bengals defenders for an 11-yard gain before safety Geroge Iloka made the stop.