Bengals News

Bengals vs Browns: A look back at the 3 keys to victory

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CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 26: Tyler Boyd #83 of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrates after an eight-yard touchdown reception against the Cleveland Browns in the first half of a game at Paul Brown Stadium on November 26, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 26: Tyler Boyd #83 of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrates after an eight-yard touchdown reception against the Cleveland Browns in the first half of a game at Paul Brown Stadium on November 26, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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The Cincinnati Bengals took care of business and stayed ‘in the hunt’ for a Wild Card berth. But, the road gets harder in Week 13.

It was closer than the score indicated. But, for now, it’s time to bask in the glow of a second straight W. The Cincinnati Bengals took care of business against a better than advertised Cleveland Browns team. There were some tense moments in Sunday’s 30-16 win and the deciding blow didn’t come until an unnecessary roughness call on Jabrill Peppers with 3:57 left in the game. That penalty helped extend a Bengals drive that would help seal the game.

Did the Bengals make it an interesting end to the Battle of Ohio 2.0? Well, of course, they did. And they managed to get some pacemakers fluttering in the process. But, they took care of business to remain in the playoff conversation…at least for another week.

Did they follow the keys for an easy slice of victory? In the words of a wise old owl, let’s find out.

Avoid looking ahead

It’s easy to say that the Bengals kept it real and focused on the Browns. But, truthfully, with a winless team on your home turf, it’s easy to let your mind wander. Actually, it seemed like there were a few moments when things got kinda dicey.  

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When Cincy went up 23-6, it looked like another laugher at the expanse of the team from up north. The Browns were suddenly looking like that team everyone was talking about. In fact, the Bengals hadn’t had a good showdown since the 2014 Thursday Night Football spanking.

Some things are better left unsaid. Maybe one of the Bengals spouted off and mentioned how bad the Browns were to a player. Out of nowhere, Cleveland cut the score to a manageable 23-16, with 6:57 left in the fourth. The Browns have been playing teams much closer over the last few weeks. But, this wasn’t the day to let a sleeping Dawg sneak up and get a good bite.

Eventually, the Bengals calmed down on both sides of the ball to keep themselves in the thick of the AFC Wild Card hunt.

At one point, Cincinnati’s focus was somewhere in outer space. But, the tide swung back in the Orange and Black’s favor for a decisive–yet close–victory.

Get the Browns’ offense off the field

After going up 23-6, the defense seemed to be doing a good job of controlling the tempo of the game. Even though DeShone Kizer made a few questionable reads and took some heat from Hue Jackson, he was able to get the Browns within striking distance.

It would be easy to say the defense did its job. But, numbers can be deceiving, in this case. By the stats, Cleveland was able to convert 40 percent (6-15) of their third-downs. But, the Dawgs kept the ball for 29 minutes. That total was made glaringly evident by a 15-play, 89-yard drive.

Once again, the Bengals were able to make big plays when they had to. Yet, there has to be more discipline in Week 13. The mistakes against Kizer and the Cleveland offense won’t fly with Big Ben and the Steelers. Cincy’s D will be put to the test against an opportunistic unit playing solid football.

Time of possession woes

The Men in Stripes get a pass this week. They were able to keep the ball 31minutes. That’s not much more than the Browns, but it allowed the offense to chew up clock and keep an eager Kizer away from the ball.

If the Bengals are going to make a splash in the postseason, they have to live, eat and breath ball control. Timely plays and a solid running game will grind the life out of any defense.

Next: Mixon's Big Day

Cincinnati produced one field-goal drive that skewed the numbers. A 12-play, 54-yard drive ate 5:55 off the clock but ended with Randy Bullock legging one from 31 yards out. If a drive moves into the 10-play zone and ends with three points, that can be dangerous. Yet, the Bengals pulled it out and set their sights and focus on the Stilluhs and Monday Night Football.

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