Bengals Shred Cleveland Browns To Stay In AFC North Race

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Oct 23, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Brandon LaFell (11) congratulates wide receiver A.J. Green (18) after Green scored a second quarter touchdown against the Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 23, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Brandon LaFell (11) congratulates wide receiver A.J. Green (18) after Green scored a second quarter touchdown against the Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Cincinnati Bengals beat Hue Jackson and the Browns to stay alive in the AFC North. A balanced offense helped lead the way to a 31-17 win.

The Cincinnati Bengals managed to stay alive. The Cleveland Browns journeyed to Paul Brown Stadium for the Battle of Ohio Part 1. Cincinnati prevailed 31-17. It wasn’t pretty. But, the end result is all that matters. The Bengals improved to 3-4 while the Browns fell to 0-7. Although the Bengals were favored to win the game, it was still a must-win scenario.

Coming into the intrastate rivalry, Cincy had lost two straight games and found themselves in need of a quick fix. Losing high-profile games to the Cowboys and Patriots left the Bengals in a tough situation. With their backs to the wall, the players came out fighting.

Finally, the Bengals’ running game found its footing. After having been on life support for the majority of the season, Jeremy Hill was part of Cincinnati’s success. Playing through the pain of an injured shoulder and suffering a chest injury, Hill was spectacular. He was able to shred the Browns for 168 yards on nine carries. 

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Big Win

It may not seem like a huge accomplishment but the victory kept Cincinnati alive in the AFC North race. With the Baltimore Ravens losing to the Jets, both teams are closing in on Pittsburgh after the Steelers’ loss to New England. The Ravens had started the year 3-0. Since then, the Ravens have lost four straight giving hope to Bengals faithful.

Not only did Hill have a huge day, other players showcased their talents. Giovani Bernard chimed in with 80 yards on 17 carries. Before the first half ended A.J. Green proved why he’s the best wide receiver in the league. Facing a 3rd and 9 from the Cleveland 48, Andy Dalton tossed up a Hail Mary to the end zone. In the midst of four Browns, Green was able to juggle the ball, tip it to himself, and make the catch. The touchdown gave the Bengals a 21-10 halftime lead and they never looked back.

Green also wowed the Browns’ sideline with an amazing one-handed catch. No. 18 ended the wide receiver clinic with eight catches and 169 yards.

When asked about his juggling and basketball skills during the game, Green explained how things happened

"“Yeah, it was a little bit of everything. I was just trying to give myself a chance to get it. I got off the line clean and ran down there. I got one hand on it and just brought it in. (Laughs) In practice this week I had some one-handers that I dropped, so I’m glad it worked out today.”"

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Staying Alive

The win pulled the Bengals to within a game of the first-place Steelers. With the limited return of Tyler Eifert and the offense getting balanced play calling from Ken Zampese, the second half of the season should be interesting. Hopefully, the running game is back to stay.

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