Bengals Close In On Division Title, Blow Out Browns 37-3 In Cleveland

One team's misery is another team's fortune. The Cleveland Browns' season hit a new low in a 37-3 loss to the AFC North-leading Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday -- a game marred by injuries and ineffectiveness by the home side. Here's some notes, quotes and observations from Cincy's big win.


The Bengals are 10-2 for just the second time in team history. The only other times was 40 years ago in 1975. QB Andy Dalton made sure of the team's dance with franchise history, throwing for two scores and rushing for another.

Cleveland (2-10) lost for the second time in six days, with Monday's 33-27 loss to the Ravens factored in. They also lost two starters to injury on Sunday -- receivers Travis Benjamin and Marlon Moore.

WR AJ Green finished with 128 yards on five catches. He surpassed 1,000 total receiving yards for the fifth time in his five NFL seasons. The only other wide receiver to have such a career-opening streak is Randy Moss, who did for his first six seasons in the league.

This was the most lopsided loss for Cleveland since December 24, 2005, when the team fell to the AFC North rival Pittsburgh Steelers, 41-0.


"It's a new year. It's a new mentality for us. We've been playing really well and there's some new pieces. For us, we have bigger goals than just making the playoffs." -- Andy Dalton

"It's tough, it's frustrating," said Pettine. "You find out who you are." -- Browns coach Mike Pettine

"It gives us a chance to be 11-2." -- Andy Dalton on the team's improvement to 10-2.

"Part of being a professional is showing up to work when things are tough and when there is adversity. We will find out the character of our teammates moving forward." -- Browns tackle Joe Thomas


The Bengals will need a multitude of things to happen next week to secure a playoff berth, but that's likely no matter either way. Barring a .0001% chance of an epic, coordinated meltdown, the Bengals will make the playoffs for the fifth straight year. That's a heck of an accomplishment for a franchise which was mired in sub-mediocrity for so long. However, making the postseason won't cut it for these guys after four seasons of early-round disappointment. It's Super Bowl or bust now for one of the most talented teams in the league.

Johnny Manziel is starting for the rest of the year in Cleveland, but can that really undo the damage for head coach Mike Pettine? He's lost 15 of his past 17 games, and he's expressed both disappointment with the poor results and the likelihood that the team's shortcomings will come under scrutiny by owner Jimmy Haslam. Whether or not his job security has completely gone out the window is uncertain, but his team has four more games to prove its more than the sum of its results so far.

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Related Topics: Browns News, Bengals News, Mike Pettine, Andy Dalton, Joe Thomas