Here we go again.
FIRST DRIVE (Browns): Josh Cribbs tries to put the team on his back (again), and rips off a terrific 44-yard return to the Bengals 48. Maybe he can provide some excitement for this narcoleptic football team.
DA hits Steptoe for 17 yards on first down, but Marvin Lewis challenges the ruling that Steptoe was actually in-bounds. He's denied at the Browns have the ball at the Bengals 31.
Lane says: "I believe the Browns offensive coaching staff is missing an opportunity here. The Bengals are rotating players in and out on the defensive side, staying fresh and pressing. I'd like to see the Cleveland offense go into the hurry-up to minimize the Cincinnati changes as well as potentially gain rhythm in the passing game. Anderson is not getting back in his drops and playing confidently. DA is playing with a great deal of caution, which is not his strength"
After two runs net a loss of run, DA drops and fires and interception to Ndukwe at the Bengals 12. He runs it back to the Bengals 24 before being brought down by K2.
Can RAC actually rationalize staying with Quinn at this point? His coaching career may hang in the balance with what he does now.
Lane: The Cincinnati defense is challenging the Cleveland offense and skill players on almost every play. The Browns offense play prior to the interception was a perfect example of what the Cincinnati is trying to do. Pinching on the outside, RB Jamal Lewis needs help to run outside, when the LB/DE pinches down, the play is a recipe for disaster.
Late, late, late in that DA throw…
SECOND DRIVE (Bengals): There's no denying that the Bengals are struggling, but still somehow have the momentum. Fitzpatrick hits Chad Johnson for 11, and then Houshmanzahdeh for another 11 to the Bengals 46.
The Bengals are in the no-huddle, second defense in two weeks to employ that against the Browns. A pass and two runs is a yard or two short, and the Bengals punt from the Browns 46. Larson's punt bounces out at the 2, pinning the Browns deep in their own territory.
Lane: "I like what the Bengals are now doing offensively................ hurry-up, getting to the line and gaining some momentum"
THIRD DRIVE (Browns): Pinned deep, the Browns get a nice run by Vickers for six. Lewis gets another six, but Braylon Edwards brain malfunctions again, and he picks up a unnecessary roughness call. That nukes the first down, and the Browns quickly find themselves in a third-and-five from the seven. Jason Wright then gets stuffed three yards deep and Zastudil is punting from the back of the end zone.
Lane: I would not hesitate yanking Anderson at this time. The Cleveland offense simply is not working together - there is a void in voice on the field. This offensive unit is looking for someone to take charge and lead. DA is leaving too much on the field. DA's confidence is shaken - if not worse.
FOURTH DRIVE (Bengals): Nice punt by Zastudil, but Chatman runs it back nine to the Bengals 48, where they will start.
The Bengals get quickly into Browns territory with a seven-yard dump to TE Reggie Kelly and two plays later gets a first down to Houshmanzahdeh at the Browns 45. Louis Leonard is called for the Browns fourth defensive line offsides penalty on the day.
First and ten from the Browns 40, and the Bengals are again in the no-huddle. A missed short pass to Chatman is followed by a casual dump for seven to TJH, but Whitworth is called for holding, so the Bengals find themselves in second and 20 from mid-field. Then D'Qwell Jackson blows up a screen pass to Perry and the Bengals lose five more, making it third and 25 from the Bengals 45. Fitzpatrick can't find a receiver again and scrambles for another 12 yard gain.
Kyle Larson's punt bounces into the end zone, so the Browns have the ball at their 20. Lucky break for the Browns.
These teams are equally inept so far. Hard to suck equivalently like that. Props, fellas.
Lane: Based on what we are seeing in this game, I cannot fathom what is going through Crennel's mind. The defense has played well against what has become an inept Cincinnati offense - but still an improving effort by this defense. The offense has not been able to execute on a consistent basis. The running game has been the strength - keep working it.
FIFTH DRIVE (Browns): Anderson comes back out, and hits K2 for five on first down. Lewis gets around right end for three creating a third-and-two from their own 28.
Kevin Shaffer is injured and play stops as Shaffer heads off-field under his own power. The Bengals had the wrong people on the field and take a timeout. The crowd lightly boos, as if they realize that their team is horrible despite being in the lead. What a mess.
On third and two, Jason Wright follows Joe Thomas for nine yards. First and ten on the Browns 37. Sowells fills in for Shaffer, which should end the quarterback controversy as soon as DA is carted off the field.
Lewis goes left for three, then DA throws short to Winslow for four, creating a third and three from the Browns 44 as Cleveland somehow stumbles down the field.
On third and three, DA is picked by Davis Jones, but the Browns get lucky as Antwan Odom was offsides and they get a first down from it. The Bengals out-stunk the Browns there… impressive.
Anderson drops on first and ten at the Browns 49, can't see anyone open, and takes off. Anderson gets eleven before running out of bounds at the Bengals 40 for another first down.
DA then drops and finds Winslow wide open about five yards off the line. K2 turns up the field and rumbles for 19 yards to the Bengals 19.
THIRD QUARTER ENDS