Bengals Throwback Thursday: 3 big moments vs. Browns
By Eric Bruns
The time has come — The Week 9 meeting between the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns, a long and bitter rivalry. Unfortunately, for a long time, both teams haven’t been good at the same time so, for the last 20 years, this rivalry that was established at the AFL-NFL merger hasn’t had the impact that it used to.
Let’s flashback to three big moments in this 51-year rivalry.
Sept. 25, 1989 – Bengals win on goal-line stand
Possibly the last time the Bengals and Browns were good in the same season was in 1989. Bernie Kosar vs. Boomer Esiason led these two contenders. The Bengals were hot off of their Super Bowl trip while the Browns were red hot and eventually made the AFC Championship game.
Though the Browns were the team that made the postseason, the Bengals would get the best of them in this Week 3 meeting. Neither quarterback lit it up, as Esiason threw for under 200 yards and Kosar threw for barely over 200. They did account for all five touchdowns on the day though.
No rushing touchdowns. No field goals. These two traded touchdowns in the second quarter ending the half at 14 all. In the third quarter, Esiason had the last score of the game with a 19-yard touchdown pass. However, it was the scoreless fourth quarter that proved to be most important.
As the nation watched this Monday night primetime matchup, the Browns made a final drive to attempt to win the game. Kosar took the Browns to the Bengal’s four-yard line in under three minutes. But, on fourth-and-goal, Kosar’s pass was batted down and the Bengals escaped with a win.
Dec.12, 1999 – Bengals decimate Browns, Corey Dillon rushes for almost 200 yards
1999 was not the year for either franchise. Going into this Week 14 matchup, the Browns were 2-11 and the Bengals were 3-10, so it’s safe to say that this game was more about pride over Ohio more than anything.
Teams never want to lose, especially to their rivals. Getting swept is possibly the worse thing that can happen. Seeing how the Bengals already won the first meeting this season, the Browns were hungry to get revenge.
Well, they did not get their revenge, and they were not even close to getting their revenge. The Bengals jumped to an early 10-0 lead thanks to an 81-yard punt return.
The second quarter was the Corey Dillon show. He had two touchdown runs and Clif Groce also had a touchdown run. The Browns found the endzone in the first and second quarter making the halftime score 30-15 thanks to some two-point conversions.
Dillon found the end zone for the third time in the third quarter and finished the day with 192 yards on the ground and three touchdowns. Jeff Blake also threw a 52-yard touchdown pass to truly put the game away by the end of the third, as the score sat at 44-21.
Ty Detmer entered the game in the fourth quarter for the Browns and threw one touchdown but the game was already out of reach. The final score was 44-28, making this one highlight in a lowlight season for the Bengals. Also, sidenote: The Bengals held the Browns to 11 total yards rushing, thanks to Kevin Johnson’s one attempt for -6 yards.
Dec.14, 2014 – Bengals shut out Browns
The Bengals have shut out the Browns four times during their entire history. It’s not surprising that one of these shutouts came against Johnny Manziel in his rookie season. I also believe it was the only game he started that season? Maybe he started two games? It feels like such a long time ago, doesn’t it?
The Browns’ main starter this season was Brian Hoyer and he wasn’t playing awful. The Browns were 7-6 when they met the 8-4-1 Bengals and the Browns were actually 7-4 after Week 12, giving them a respectable mark, something their fans weren’t used to at that point. They then lost their last five games ending any hope of a playoff appearance.
The Browns even beat the Bengals in Week 10 24-3, so, if Johnny “Football” wasn’t starting this game the Browns might’ve had a chance. Instead, they fell further down the rabbit hole. They decided to start Johnny since Hoyer was struggling after two losses in a row.
Manziel struggled to do anything against the Bengals, who scored on their opening drive with a rushing touchdown from Jeremy Hill. The second quarter was a repeat of the first with a Bengals field goal and a rushing touchdown by Hill.
The Bengals scored 10 more points in the second half ending the game at 30-0. Johnny “Football” ended the day with 80 yards passing and two interceptions, making it a rough day for a rookie starter. This would also mark the beginning of a seven-game win streak by the Bengals in this series.
What do you think? Did I miss any other big moments?