Half: Bengals 6, Browns 3

In a game which looks like a game between winless teams, the Browns are coming up short. Neither team can pass effectively, but the Bengals manage a 6-3 lead at halftime.

Thanks to Fitzpatrick's scrambling, the Bengals start building some momentum.

FIRST DRIVE (Bengals): The second quarter starts off ineptly for the Bengals as Fitzpatrick fumbles the snap, but Louis Leonard bails him out with another offsides call.

Fitzpatrick starts feeling his oats, and hits Houshmanzahdeh for six and a first down. Two plays later, the Bengals are at third-and-seven, but Fitzpatrick scrambles under pressure again for 13 to the Browns 38 and  a first down.

With the momentum, Perry slashes for 12 to the 26 and another first.

But the Bengals stall. A false start penalty helps lead to a third and nine. The Browns blitz everyone on third down, and Fitzpatrick has no choice but to throw the ball out of the end zone. The Bengals are close enough, however, that Graham can hit a 42-yard field goal and make it BROWNS 3, BENGALS 3

Personal note: The TV commercial playing in my ears uses the phrase "Use (whatever) and get back hair that is shiny and soft". Seriously, why should I shampoo my back hair? No one sees it other than my wife, and she doesn't seem to care about it. Dumb.

SECOND DRIVE (Browns): Graham boots the ball too deep to return, and the Browns get it at their 20. The Browns offense stutters: Incomplete to Winslow, Lewis gets nothing up the middle, and then DA gets sacked by Ndukwe eleven yards back. Ugh. Three plays, minus 11 yards. Punt.

THIRD DRIVE (Bengals): Nice starting position at the Browns 49, and Fitzpatrick immediately dumps to Perry for nine yards. The Browns third defensive offsides then gives the Bengals a first at the Browns 35. The young quarterback then makes a boneheaded decision to loft a pass downfield which is fielded by Mike Adams. Horrible pass. A block in the back on Andra Davis on Adam's 18-yard return moves the ball back to the Browns 15 where the Browns will start out.

FOURTH DRIVE (Browns): Nice start to the drive, and DA audibles a run to Lewis around the right side that gets six. An end-around to Jerome Harrison goes for 12 and the Browns are out to their 33.

Lewis runs right again on first down for four, and then DA hits Lewis quickly, whichi Lewis runs for nine and another first down at the Browns 46. Nice little drive starting for the Browns.

From there, Wright runs twice for four yards to create a third-and-six. Anderson has a three-step drop under pressure, and he tosses quickly to Jerome Harrison for four, creating a fourth and one. RAC goes for it, and Anderson fakes the hand-off and drops deep. DA panics and throws early without planting and underthrows Heiden. The ball goes back to Cincy in good field position at their 45. The Derek Anderson Fan Club continues to shrink.

FIFTH DRIVE (Bengals): After two short plays, Fitzpatrick throws another pick, this time to Eric Wright. But Wright runs the ball back sixteen yards, is hit by Chris Perry, fumbles, and it's recovered by Chad Ocho Something Johnson Cinco on the Browns 45. Fitzpatrick hits Reggie Kelly for six to the Browns 39 as the two minute warning hits.

After the two minute warning, another TE pass gets one and creates a third-and-three for the Bengals on 38. The Bengals don't like the look of the Browns defense and call their first timeout with 1:29 left in the half. The Bengals convert with a crossing route to Houshmanzahdeh.

One first and ten from the Browns 32, Kam Wimbley remembers that he's supposed to sack quarterbacks, gets penetration into the Bengals backfield and SACKS (yes, sacks!) Fitzpatrick for a loss of two. After an incompletion, the Bengals are faced with a third-and-twelve on the Browns 34. Underpressure, the Bengals pass for six yards to Houshmanzahdeh setting up the field goal from the 28. There are thirteen seconds left in half, and the Bengals call timeout.

RAC tries to ice Graham with another timeout, but it fails as Graham hits a 46-yarder. BENGALS 6, BROWNS 3


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