CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Browns entered Week 16 with their playoff ambitions on life support. By the time they played the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, those postseason dreams were over. Without the motivation of the playoffs, the Browns came out with a purpose regardless and thrashed the Bengals for the second time this season.
Things got a little dicey late, particularly after a blocked punt set up Cincinnati for a touchdown that cut it to a one-score game. In the end, though Cleveland hung on to spoil Hue Jackson’s homecoming, 26-18.
The win marked the first time in 16 years the Browns have swept the Bengals. It’s also the first time they’ve swept any division opponent since 2007 (Baltimore) and it guarantees they’ll have a winning record against the AFC North for the first time since its formation in 2002. Even with the playoffs no longer a possibility, Cleveland has some more milestones to play for next week like sweeping a second division opponent and posting their highest win total in over a decade.
Here are five takeaways from the win over Cincinnati: