Halloween night in Cleveland couldn’t have come at a more scary time for the Browns. Staring at a dangerous game that could ruin their season and smarting from a four game losing streak, Team Turmoil looked disheveled.
The Cincinnati Bengals were looking to end their losing streak against the Browns and get Joe Burrow his first victory over his I-71 rivals!
Talk before kickoff centered around the trade deadline and if Kareem Hunt would be on the move. It seemed like people were talking about the Browns, but not about the game versus the Bengals. Fire Woods! Fire Priefer! Shouting in the locker after last week’s loss. Hey, there’s a game Monday!
Add to it the list of players the Browns had on the inactive list and this had all the makings of a horror-filled night!
Our inactives for #CINvsCLE
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) October 31, 2022
Ah…but fear not, fans!
With all the insanity, why not have the Browns play their best game of the year? Team Turmoil did it to the fans again! A big game by Brissett, 100 yards for Chubb, Cooper’s 5 for 131 yards with a TD, and a defense that brought pressure on Joe Burrow all night helped the Browns dominate the statistics and their Cincinnati rivals in a 32-13 win on Halloween.
Brown’s defense was outstanding!
The story really was the defense. The Bengals were held scoreless for the first time in the first half in 2022. Burrow, now 0-5 against the Browns, was sacked five times for a loss of 39 yards, intercepted once and pressured most of the game. Joe Mixon only gained 27 yards on eight carries with the Bengals only running 50 plays! Who knew the defense had this type of dominating performance? The Bengals only had the ball for 23 mins all game!
Myles Garrett wasn’t the only star. Simone Takitaki had a solid game with a forced fumble of Burrow and a sack. Isaiah Thomas had his first NFL sack. Deion Jones, recently with the Falcons, recorded a Burrow sack. And AJ Green, the second year player out of OK State, intercepted a Burrow pass on the first Bengal possession to set the tone for the defensive grit all night.
The Browns, opting to defer until halftime, allowed the Bengals to receive the ball first and they moved down the field with some ease. After a Boyd catch which saw the Bengals at the Browns 27 yard line, AJ Green finally got the defense a much needed turnover.
Hey look, it’s AJ Green with the interception. #OKState
(🎥 via @NFL) pic.twitter.com/5UIYmZ8KFh
— Cody Nagel (@CodyNagel247) November 1, 2022
Sadly the Browns could only muster a seven play drive that culminated with Cade York’s 55 yard FG being blocked.
A quick Bengals three and out was followed by a Brissett interception after only two plays. Surely fans began to see that events for the night were forming for a potential let down! But the defense would have none of it. Two more Bengal three and outs, and the defense was keeping it a scoreless tie heading into the 2nd quarter.
On the second drive of the 2nd quarter, the Browns punched it in for the first score of the game on a nice bit of trickery. Nick Chubb took the direct snap in for a three yard scamper for the TD. A penalty on the Bengals on the extra point gave the Browns the chance for a 2 point conversion which they converted for their first one of the season!
#Browns had 7 OL on the field for this Nick Chubb direct snap TD run @NextGenStats pic.twitter.com/Rrsw3sLg8z
— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) November 1, 2022
Big plays on the drive included an early 3rd down and five conversion when Jacoby found Cooper for 29 yards. Then facing another third down, Brissett and Cooper hooked up again for an 18 yard gain that put Cleveland into the red zone and allowed Chubb to score.
Near the end of the quarter, Cincinnati drove for a field goal, but Evan McPherson’s kick sailed just right of the upright. With 40 seconds remaining, Brissett hit Hunt for a 12 yard pass and then quickly found David Bell for 14 yards. The Browns tried two other plays but were unsuccessful. So they settled for a 55 yard Cade York FG to take an 11-0 lead into the locker room.
Coming out of the half the Browns took the kickoff and proceeded to put together a 75 yard drive in 6:03. They converted four first downs before Brissett took the snap and scrambled around to the left for a three yard touchdown as his outstretched hand with the ball touched the pylon!
The Bengals *have* allowed a second half TD.
Jacoby Brissett keeps it and extends the #Browns lead!
(via @NFL) #CINvsCLE pic.twitter.com/OE3yFdAgqz
— Bally Sports Cleveland (@BallySportsCLE) November 1, 2022
This was the first TD the Bengals defense had given up in the second half all year.
Again, the Browns made big plays on third down. The first third and 7, Jacoby dropped back and fired a pass to Donovan Peoples-Jones for 26 yards taking the ball to the Cincy 34. On the next third down, Chubb took the handoff over left tackle, jumped outside and canvassed the turf for 21 yards before being pushed out of bounds.
The Bengals then had a short 3 and out and on the next possession. Sensing a big moment in the game, the Browns went 8 plays and 60 yards for a Cooper touchdown on a beautiful fade to the left corner of the endzone for another 6 points!
This Amari Cooper route 📸
Anytime TD scorer ➡️ (+175)
— FanDuel Sportsbook (@FDSportsbook) November 1, 2022
Hunt, maybe playing his final game for his hometown club, made some nice runs on this sequence, and DPJ and Cooper made two key catches to move the Browns within striking distance for the touchdown.
Sensing a potential blowout to their northern neighbors, Cincinnati put together their own 9 pay 73 yard drive. Converting 5 first downs on the drive with short passes or a QB sneak, the Bengals finally scored when Tyler Boyd took a Burrow pass 13 yards for the TD. But the ofter reliable McPherson missed the extra point, which seemed to take the sting out of the lost shutout!
Nick Chubb cannot be stopped 💥
2 TD scorer (+500) ✅
— FanDuel Sportsbook (@FDSportsbook) November 1, 2022
Immediately after the Bengals score, Chubb scampered 11 yards for his second TD on the night. But the big play was a 53 yard bomb from Brissett to who else…Amari Cooper.
Cooper outraced his two defenders covering him and dove for the ball with a super catch. The Bengals had two corners go down during the game with injuries, so Stefanski said he wanted to push the ball and challenge the two rookie DBs. Check below what Cooper had to say prior to that call!
The Bengals scored again to make it 32-13, but facing a fourth and four on their next possession, Martin Emerson knocked the ball away from Boyd and the Browns ran out the clock.
Cleveland kept their season hopes alive and went to 3-5 on the year while the Bengals dropped to 4-4. The Browns hit the bye week on a positive note while the Bengals have a short week now to prep for Miami before their off week.
Jacoby: “We imposed our will. And I think that touchdown [to start the second half] was a critical moment for us.”
Kevin Stefanski – “I think we had a great week of practice. Guys pushed each other hard especially with guys injured.”
Amari Cooper: “It felt great! Whenever we play like that, we can get the DUB.”
Amari on the big 53 yard bomb: “I told him [Jacoby], ‘Let’s run the post. They aren’t respecting that.’”
November 13th will see the Browns travel to Miami for a showdown with the Dolphins.
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