CLEVELAND - In windy, frigid Cleveland Browns Stadium, two teams playing out the season battled.
The Browns offense could be described as frigid, but more appropriate would be futile.
The Browns have now gone five games—count them—without scoring an offensive touchdown. That's 20 quarters as they dropped a 14-0 decision to the Bengals. They've scored just 31 games in the last five games.
"When you look at 20 quarters, it's the entire offense," Romeo Crennel said. "In this business, when you get down to your third quarterback, it's usually not as productive."
Ken Dorsey was 10-of-17 for 68 yards and three interceptions—all to Leon Hall. The first one was all the Bengals needed as Hall stepped in front of Braylon Edwards in the first quarter and raced 50 yards for a touchdown.
The Browns turned the ball over four times.
The Browns deepest penetration was to the Bengals' 27 on the opening drive of the second half. However, Dorsey threw one of his interceptions to Hall. Dorsey had to leave the game late with a rib and head injury, but Bruce Gradkowski fared not much better. He was 2-of-5 for 8 yards with a sack and an interception. Dorsey had a 28.2 rating, while Gradkowski finished with 8.3.
Cedric Benson was the story for the Bengals as he carried the ball 38 times for 171 yards. Ryan Fitzpatrick only threw one pass in the second half and finished with 5–of-9 for 55 yards and a touchdown. He hit Chris Henry for a 20-yard score for the only offensive touchdown of the game.
Don't look now but the Bengals are 3-11-1 and could pass the 4-11 Browns in the standings with a win next week.
"It was a very disappointing loss for us at home," Crennel said. "We had a complete turnaround from last year at home."
The Browns finished the season 1-7 at home compared to 7-1 last year.
The Bengals took a 7-0 lead with 8:30 to play in the first quarter as Hall stepped in front of Braylon Edwards and raced 50 yards for a touchdown with 8:30 to play in the first quarter. The Browns had been moving the ball with Josh Cribbs picking up 23 yards on three carries before Dorsey threw a wobbly pass that Hall picked off.
The Bengals extended their lead to 14-0 as Fitzpatrick hit Chris Henry from 20 yards out with 8:02 to play in the first half. Henry beat Wright as the Bengals went 89 yards in 15 plays, while holding the ball for 8:36. On the drive, the Bengals were five-of-five on third down.
Just before the half the Bengals moved to the Browns' 31, but Shayne Graham's 49-yard field goal attempt with 1:08 to play was way short.
Offense Ineptness Continues: The Browns offense has now gone five games (20 quarters) without scoring a touchdown. The Browns were going to go for it on fourth-and-one from their own 49 in the first quarter, but OL Eric Steinbach was flagged for a false start and the Browns punted. The last time the Browns scored a touchdown from the offensive side of the ball was on RB Jerome Harrison's 72-yard touchdown against the Bills to start the fourth quarter on Nov. 17. QB Ken Dorsey was 2-of-4 for 8 yards with one interception and a whopping 16.7 rating with 1:08 to play in the first half. He completed three passes in the final 1:08 and finished the first half 5-of-9 for 32 yards and a 23.6 rating. He finished with a 28.3 rating and three interceptions.
Jamal's 10,000: RB Jamal Lewis had 16 carries for 76 yards to hit the 10,000 yard plateau in his career.
"Congratulations to Jamal on his accomplishment," Crennel said.
Braylon's Day: WR Braylon Edwards had four receptions for 35 yards. Edwards had a reception for a first down in the first quarter, but was flagged for pass interference negating the reception and first down. Edwards broke free on QB Bruce Gradkowski's first play, but the pass was way overthrown.
Back to Mistake Ball: After playing several games with few penalties, the Browns reverted to making many costly penalties at crucial times throughout the first half. The Browns had six penalties for 40 yards to none for the Bengals in the first half and finished with 9 for 65 yards, while the Bengals had just two penalties.
Wright Stuff: DB Eric Wright ran down RB Cedric Benson from behind after Benson ran 46 yards and caused him to fumble, which he recovered at the 26. The takeaway by Wright was the team's 30th of the season to lead the NFL.
Willie's Drop: LB Willie McGinest had a sure touchdown on an interception to open the second quarter as QB Ryan Fitzpatrick threw a pass right to him, but he couldn't hang on.
Flash Package: WR/KR Josh Cribbs took two snaps for nine yards and first down on the Browns' opening possession. He then took a reverse for 14 yards on the first down play. Cribbs picked up 23 yards on three successive plays before the Browns went back to the convention offense and Dorsey threw the pick six.
Cedric's Entertainment: RB Cedric Benson carried the ball four straight times to open the game and he wasn't even on the Bengals the first time the two teams played. Benson had a 46-yard run, but fumbled on the play. He had 64 yards in the first quarter and 22 carries for 118 yards in the first half. He finished with 38 carries for 171 yards.
Vickers, Steinbach Hurt: FB Lawrence Vickers became the second player to get injured in the pregame. Vickers had back spasms and FB Charles Ali started in his place. Prior to the season opener, WR Donte Stallworth pulled a quad muscle and missed five games. Steinbach left in the fourth quarter with an undisclosed injury.
Inactives: For the Browns: TE Kellen Winslow, DL Shaun Smith, LB Leon Williams, DB Travis Daniels, RB Allen Patrick, WR Paul Hubbard, DB Hamza Abdullah and TE John Madsen. DL Louis Leonard started in place of Smith.