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Bengals reassert control of AFC North with rout of Cleveland

Vontaze Burfict AP

The Bengals enter their upcoming bye week all alone — and multiple games clear of the field — in the AFC North.

Cincinnati took a significant step toward a division title with a 41-20 victory against Cleveland on Sunday in Cincinnati. The win improved the Bengals to 7-4 and moved them 2.5 games ahead of the Browns, Ravens and Steelers.

The Browns had a chance to cut the Bengals’ lead to just a half-game in the division and earn the head-to-head tiebreaker against Cincinnati. Instead, the Bengals took care of business, overcoming a slow start and a tough day from their offense to prevail.

The Bengals came up big on defense and special teams. They intercepted Browns quarterback Jason Campbell three times, and linebacker Vontaze Burfict returned a fumble for a touchdown. The Bengals were superior in the kicking game, too, blocking two punts, one of which was brought back for a touchdown.

For the Browns, Sunday’s loss was one big missed opportunity. The Browns scored the game’s first 13 points, with cornerback Joe Haden picking Dalton twice in the first quarter. However, they simply made too many miscues to win, even with Cincinnati gaining just 224 yards and converting just 1-of-14 third downs.

The Bengals’ offense has had better days. And it will need to be better for Cincinnati to have a shot when the stakes get higher. But on this day, the Bengals’ other units picked up the offense — and carried the team.

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32 Responses to “Bengals reassert control of AFC North with rout of Cleveland”
  1. z06vision says: Nov 17, 2013 6:44 PM

    Thanks to OZZIE knowing whats best,,,,,last place!

  2. Nofoolnodrool says: Nov 17, 2013 6:47 PM

    The clowns doing what they do best…..imagine their fans were bragging a couple games ago….be easy on the crickets….

  3. h3min1230 says: Nov 17, 2013 6:49 PM

    Joe Hayden > Dick Sherman

  4. doctorrustbelt says: Nov 17, 2013 6:52 PM

    A.J. Green is GREAT… but… he is a lazy, non-detail oriented route runner.

    Richard Sherman was right about A.J. Green (except the comment about being overrated).

    Dalton’s two ints are related to A.J. Green’s lack of game awareness.

  5. doctorrustbelt says: Nov 17, 2013 6:53 PM

    We got a couple tornadoes on the ground in Greater Cincinnati.

  6. jakec4 says: Nov 17, 2013 6:55 PM

    Just change the AFC North to the AFC One and Done as the #4 seed. Whoever wins this pathetic division likely plays KC or Denver.

  7. roanboon says: Nov 17, 2013 6:59 PM

    Nice to see them winning, but Cincinnati might be the least predictable team in pro football. Very unconventional wins, and kind of a fantasy football “grab-bag”.

  8. dabmasterhap says: Nov 17, 2013 7:02 PM

    We worked on the defense this year, will work on the offense next year. I’m very optimistic for the future of the Browns. The factory of sadness is closing down and moving onto another town..

  9. pooflingingmonkey says: Nov 17, 2013 7:09 PM

    Where’d that guy go who said this would be the game where the Browns would take over control of the AFC North? Did he mean control of being tied for last?

    Good game though by the Browns CB Dumbo Haden.

  10. tommymomoney says: Nov 17, 2013 7:17 PM

    This just in… Jason Campbell just checked it down to the running back. Again.

  11. steelers88 says: Nov 17, 2013 7:27 PM

    It’s still early to be saying this. The Bengals have a pretty tough schedule @ SD, VS IND, @ PIT, VS MIN, VS BAL. If they are going to win the division they are going to have to earn it.

  12. joetoronto says: Nov 17, 2013 7:50 PM

    doctorrustbelt says:
    Nov 17, 2013 6:52 PM
    A.J. Green is GREAT… but… he is a lazy, non-detail oriented route runner.

    Richard Sherman was right about A.J. Green (except the comment about being overrated).

    Dalton’s two ints are related to A.J. Green’s lack of game awareness.
    **************************************************
    Bullcrap, Dalton doesn’t have the arm to throw out passes, why they keep letting him throw them is beyond me.

    There’s nothing on those balls.

  13. tedmurph says: Nov 17, 2013 7:56 PM

    doctorrustbelt says:Nov 17, 2013 6:53 PM

    We got a couple tornadoes on the ground in Greater Cincinnati
    ———————————————————-
    You’re off to see the wizard.

  14. winorlose6burgh says: Nov 17, 2013 8:02 PM

    They ain’t going anywhere with Andy dalton :D

  15. classyjacklambert says: Nov 17, 2013 8:04 PM

    I love the fact that Baltimore is now the last place team.

  16. vincentbojackson says: Nov 17, 2013 8:15 PM

    Just looked at the stat line.

    Total yards:
    Cincinnati 224
    Cleveland 330

    How on earth do you win by 3 touchdowns when you get out gained by 100 yards and only throw for 93?

    Of wait, I forgot we’re talking about the Browns.

  17. blantoncollier says: Nov 17, 2013 8:36 PM

    Guess all the Cleveland media types can get off the Jason Campbell band wagon.

  18. jrs45 says: Nov 17, 2013 9:20 PM

    Personally that division blows. Cincy will lose in the playoffs as always!

  19. cymbaline6 says: Nov 17, 2013 9:28 PM

    As a Bengals fan, I do not feel any better about our team after that win. It reasserted everything I already knew about our team – that the defense is outstanding, the special teams are above average, and the offense is a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde affair that will likely be our undoing.

    More importantly (perhaps), it continues to make me wonder what we should do with Dalton. He’s just good enough to make you feel bad about ditching him, and not good enough to make you feel comfortable about keeping him. How do you dump a guy who has taken you to the playoffs three times in a row and every year he’s played (if we hit them this year)? But how do you keep a guy who spots the other team 10 points in the first few minutes of the game on the regular?

    I really hope he figures it out. Barring that, I wish he would do the favor of playing so terribly that at least knew what to do with him one way or another. I think we’re going to the playoffs, but I don’t feel great about our chances.

  20. mikebrownfeedsondreams says: Nov 17, 2013 10:27 PM

    Dalton hasn’t been great the past few weeks. So I’m not making excuses for him here, but it’s not ALL his fault(granted much is).

    A.J. Green is a stud. Because he’s a stud noone will like it if I criticize him. He does ALMOST everything great. But he does not attack the ball. On those comeback routes he sits and waits on the ball… as the defender attacks it and flies by him for the pick. It happened once today and it wasn’t the first time this year.

    He isn’t the only receiver guilty of this either. James Urban(WR coach) really needs to address this over the bye. We seem to run these routes a lot, so we better start attacking the ball on them.

    One thing I know for certain: Jay Gruden sucks. He doesn’t know how to utilize his personnel and his playcalling in general is VERY questionable. He gets too much credit for having some outstanding playmakers to work with.

  21. jjconley says: Nov 17, 2013 10:52 PM

    Happy to hear people seeing how lazy AJ is. His lack of effort is infuriating, especially when he telegraphs plays he’s not involved in our gives up when corners play him physically. His drops are are getting worse.

    He has to improve. He’s gifted athletically, but so was Chad Johnson…who was also lazy and often ran the wrong routes. Everyone needs to get better, and he’s no exception. He ran two poor routes on those interceptions today. His drop against the Bears lead to a pick. He sounded his route against Miami and didn’t even try to get the ball on that pick.

    Andy will be fine. When he gets decent blocking and his receivers catch the ball, he wins offensive player of the month.

  22. sellout1983 says: Nov 17, 2013 11:02 PM

    This is what matters, the Bengals won.

  23. chrispin53 says: Nov 18, 2013 2:23 AM

    Hate on the Bengals all you want, but when this offense is actually clicking there’s maybe two teams in the NFL that can beat them, and they both play in the NFC west.

    Andy Dalton is the key, and its not his physical tools/ or talent, it’s his psyche that dictates where this offense goes.

    Really hope to see them in the Superbowl this year, just prefer the 49ers over the Seahawks as the opponent, bc I’d enjoy the nostalgic 80’s rematch.

    (On a side note, i think the Denver KC game proved both teams are overrated)

    As

  24. bonniebengal says: Nov 18, 2013 5:25 AM

    vincentbojackson says:
    Nov 17, 2013 8:15 PM
    Just looked at the stat line.

    Total yards:
    Cincinnati 224
    Cleveland 330

    How on earth do you win by 3 touchdowns when you get out gained by 100 yards and only throw for 93?

    ________________________

    Part of the reason is our defense and special teams kept giving our offense such a short field.

  25. pabrownsfan says: Nov 18, 2013 5:35 AM

    Congrats to Bengal fans on the win.

  26. bengalsbilly says: Nov 18, 2013 8:36 AM

    Funny on interceptions how everyone is an expert on whose fault they were – especially Joe Toronto who is an expert on everything. Was AJ supposed to break due to the coverage? Was it just a crappily thrown ball by Dalton? I don’t know, but neither does anyone here. All you can say for sure was that it was a bad start and the team rallied for the win.

  27. audient says: Nov 18, 2013 10:16 AM

    The Browns had a test and they did not pass. Here’s hoping they can rebound against the Stllrs.

    If the Browns can’t win the North, then my next preference is the Bengals. Another team founded by people hosed by Art Modell, we have a lot in common.

  28. thegenoatkinsdiet says: Nov 18, 2013 10:21 AM

    @jakec4 @jrs45
    So what you are really telling us is that your team sucks you wish you team was in control of their division like the Bengals are.

  29. steelerben says: Nov 18, 2013 10:36 AM

    vincentbojackson says:
    Nov 17, 2013 8:15 PM
    Just looked at the stat line.

    Total yards:
    Cincinnati 224
    Cleveland 330

    How on earth do you win by 3 touchdowns when you get out gained by 100 yards and only throw for 93?

    Of wait, I forgot we’re talking about the Browns.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    There was the fact that punts were blocked, one leading to a touchdown, passes were intercepted, and there was a fumble brought back for a touchdown. Scoring points while keeping the offense off the field means that you can win without putting up a lot of stats.

  30. crownofthehelmet says: Nov 18, 2013 10:56 AM

    This so-called “rout” will make it that much sweeter when the Bengals lose the division.

  31. thegenoatkinsdiet says: Nov 18, 2013 12:29 PM

    @clownofthehelmet
    I like you. Clowns make me laugh.

  32. whodey1982 says: Nov 18, 2013 2:51 PM

    AMEN to the people on here saying AJ doesn’t attack the ball. He did it in the Chicago game as well…he sits and waits for it to come to him as opposed to attacking the ball, and in many cases it costs us INTs. It infuriates me! That being said, you take the (ridiculously) good with the bad, dude’s still a beast.

    And also Cymbaline6 hit it on the head too: “I think we’re going to the playoffs, but I don’t feel great about our chances.”

    We are an extremely talented team. Give us any one of the “Elite” QBs and I think we become the favorite to with the superbowl for the next 5 years. Andy is a great guy, he’s decent, but he’s not a franchise QB. EVEN when he had player of the month, there wasn’t a game where I walked away really impressed…not like when I watch Brees or Manning. He dinks and dunks for yardage, and his deep balls are more like jump balls that AJ wins more often than not.

    Problem is, we don’t have any better options available unless you want to try and sign Cutler in the off season (umm, no), trade for Roethlisberger (lol, absolutely not), or rebuild…none of which I like.

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