Browns Hold Off Bengals to Win 27-20

The Cleveland Browns topped the Cincinnati Bengals today by combining a tough-at-the-right-times defense and a multi-dimensional offense. A spirited game on both sides of the ball results in a 27-20 Browns victory. Art Bietz provides the first wrap-up of the Browns-Bengals game with the running commentary he maintained during today's game.

First Quarter

The Cincinnati Bengals jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead on their first possession. Mouthy Chad Johnson snags a 72-yard touchdown reception from Jon Kitna on a third-and-short. Griffith, up defending against a draw, gets burned long by Johnson. Bengals 7-0.

The Browns now have the ball and are trying to strike back. The Browns mount a drive, highlighted by two third-down completions to Dennis Northcutt (lined up against linebackers). The Browns burn the Bengals on a reverse to Northcutt (with Couch throwing a block, and Green breaks a run for 16 yards. Darnell Sanders, our TE of the future, caps the drive with a clean touchdown in the end zone. Sanders was essentially uncovered, and Couch found him wide open in the end zone. The Browns strike back quickly to make it 7-7.

After a short kick-off gives the Bengals the ball short of mid-field, the Bengals stall on a three-and-out. Dillon stuffed on first down sets up two incompletions and momentum shifts northward.

After a punt, the Browns get the ball back and immediately start mixing up the pass and run. Green's effectiveness leads to a successful play-action pass. Couch is looking very impressive on a six for seven start. Green then churns up seven yards and is also looking impressive early. The teams then exchange five-yard penalties. A couple of runs later, the Browns grab a first down at the Bengals 30. Two incompletes to KJ in the end zone just sets the stage for a completion to rookie Andre Davis. The Browns offense looks sharp, really hitting on all cylinders for the first time since pre-season. Browns 14, Bengals 7.

The Bengals get the ball back, and Kitna connects on a 31-yard pass as the quarter ends. The Browns have controlled the ball for over 11 minutes in the first quarter.

Second Quarter

The Bengals also mixed the ball up well as they responded with a touchdown of their own. Dillon running hard mixed with stretching the field by long passes allows the Bengals to mount a nice drive. The drive ends with Jon Kitna taking a shot from Robert Griffith as he barely gets the ball into the end zone. Bengals 14, Browns 14.

Browns fans finally get their wish to see Frisman Jackson toss a pass, as he heaves the ball 60 yards to a covered Dennis Northcutt. The pass falls incomplete. The gimmick doesn't hurt the Browns, though, as Couch continues on-target to multiple receivers and moves the ball to mid-field. Green gets outside and delivers a blistering stiff arm to get another five yards. Green looks like he has finally arrived!

Couch completes a long one to Morgan to put the Browns back in the red zone. The team doesn't convert, however, and Dawson misses a gimme field goal, to yeild nothing for the Browns. The score stays tied at 14 despite the nice Browns drive.

The Bengals again gamble long, but Daylon McCutcheon has Chad Johnson well-covered. A short run and another inompletion, and the Bengals have to punt.

After some nice running by William Green helps the Browns get to mid-field, Couch makes his second mistake of the day (after missing a wide-open KJ in the end zone in the first) by throwing to a well-covered reciever and getting picked off. The Bengals get the ball back near their own 20, but have to kick the ball after a short drive. Again, Kitna throws long, but uncalled pass interference on Anthony Henry lets the Browns get the ball back. The offensive momentum has slowed on both sides, and we're seeing some trench warfare now.

As the Browns get the ball back with about 3 minutes left, William Green continues to run extremely well. He has nearly 70 yards already, which few would have predicted. As a Browns fan, other than Jamel White's incredible game against the Packers, we're seeing the best running performance since the team's return.

As Green takes a breather, James Jackson backs up his words by ripping off a 15-yard run. Two plays later, Jackson drops a Couch pass that would have netted another ten yards. Northcutt holds on to the next one, though, moving the ball to the 15 with a minute left. Again the Browns are unable to convert a first-and-goal, settling a Phil Dawson field goal.

Mark Word make a nice play to knock the ball out of Kitna's hands as time runs out in the first half.

Third Quarter

Browns get the kick-off and things start off shaky as Andre Davis bobbles the ball and the Browns get it on the 27. The Bengals are keying on Green now, and a three-yard loss on first down, helps the Browns to a three-and-out.

On the Bengals first possession, Corey Dillon shows you why he's a Pro Bowler and Browns killer. Bouncing outside on two consecutive plays, Dillon takes the Bengals on his shoulders and takes the Bengals to the Browns 31. Kitna follows up with a pitch-and-catch to FB Neal and the ball is at the Browns 20. After a first down, Earl Holmes rises to the occasion and tosses Johnson down by grabbing his feet on a crossing-pattern. After an incomplete, Kitna misses Dugans in the end zone and have to settle for a 37-yard field goal. Bengals 17, Browns 17.

After Andre Davis runs the kick-off back to the 35, Tim Couch scrambles on the first play of the drive for five yards. The Browns offensive line starts self-destructing as two false starts by Verba moves the team back 10 yards. Justin Smith appears to have gotten in Ross Verba's head, but he keeps Smith off of Couch enough to allow a 30-yard completion across the middle to Morgan. The Browns then bounce Green to the left side behind Verba, getting another 10 yards. On the next play, Green goes behind a hole blasted open by Verba to another six yards. James Jackson replaces Green and Couch goes incomplete to the end zone. Then Couch, who has yet to get sacked today, steps up nicely into the pocket and grabs a first down as he hits Frisman Jackson on a crossing-pattern. At this point, the Browns are 10 for 13 on third downs.

James Jackson puts a lot of work into a three yard run as he reverses field and gets a block by masher Tim Couch to get the ball inside the 20 of the Bengals. After a loss on a run, Couch tosses a strike to Dennis Northcutt in the end zone, putting the Browns up 24-17. Browns 24, Bengals 17

As the Bengals start their drive, Orpheus Roye tears down Corey Dillon after a yard. Again, however, Kitna connects long to Johnson taking the ball close to mid-field. A pass to TE Schobel, results in Robert Griffith tagging the unlucky Bengal receiver, but only after a gain of 15. Another completion to that Housmanzadeh (or whatever) gets the ball to the Browns 20. Dillon escapes a tackle to take it to the 15 as the quarter ends.

Fourth Quarter

Chased by Big Money with Darren Hambrick charging in, Kitna starts the fourth quarter with an incompletion. The officiating crew next makes the right call as Dugans traps the next pass underneath him as an incompletion. Dick LeBeau then challenges the call. The challenge is futile and the Bengals get only a field goal. Browns 24, Bengals 20

After an incompletion, William Green gets three on his own. He's delivering some shots today. Couch in the shotgun tosses the ball to Green, but it's not enough for the first down, so the Browns are forced to punt. The Bengals will get the ball back with a chance to take the lead... but they have to start their drive on the ten after a great punt by Gardocki and terrific coverage by the Browns.

Dillon runs for a short gain, but now it's the Bengals turn to self-destruct as

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