Browns Start Strong, But Can't Finish Off Bengals in 23-20 Loss

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At least the Brows were able to score a touchdown in the first quarter. Yes, the Cleveland Browns finally started strong in a game, but couldn’t close the deal on the road, eventually falling 23-20 to the Cincinnati Bengals.

It was another startling reminder that the team needs playmakers on offense. As of right now, with the game on the line, who can quarterback Colt McCoy trust?

However, even as the Browns faltered down the stretch, the game was still tied at 20 when head coach Pat Shurmur opted to try a 55-yard field goal with 1:55 left to play. Rather than punt the ball and pin the Bengals down deep in their own end, Shurmur went for the win – it’s understandable. However, in those rainy conditions, a 55-yard field goal can be a perilous pursuit, and it was just that. Another botched snap led to a miss and the Bengals were left with favorable field position.

This game was a painful reminder that the Browns still have a long way to go but that there are certain pieces in place. It’s a small consolation, but Browns fans can walk away from this game knowing for a fact that their team is competitive. At the very least, it’s a step in the right direction.

Here are a few more observations regarding the Browns’ loss to the Cincinnati Bengals:

  • This was the roughest game of wide receiver Greg Little’s short career. He may have had five catches for 57 yards, but had four drops to go along with that, including a crucial drop on the Browns’ final drive
  • Running back Peyton Hillis finally made it back into the lineup after missing the last five games with a hamstring injury. He rushed 19 times for 65 yards, which doesn’t necessarily stand out, but his presence on the field was certainly felt. Defenses have to account for Hillis when he is on the field, and it was obvious that the Browns offense ran much more smoothly with him playing (or at least as smooth as the Browns are capable of).
  • The defensive line played well, registering two sacks and a fumble recovery. While Cedric Benson was able to run for 106 yards and a touchdown, the line was able to get pressure on Andy Dalton most of the game, and on the big pass that was completed to A.J. Green to set up the game-winning field goal, there was a Browns defender in Dalton’s face.
  • Browns receivers aren’t doing Colt McCoy any favors, as the team leads the NFL in drops. Despite Greg Little’s bad day, you have to keep in mind that he is, in fact, still a rookie. The rest of the receiving corps, though, seem to have an impossible time getting open, except for Jordan Norwood, who has really proved himself as of late. The Browns may have found themselves their slot receiver of the future in him.

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Tags: A.J. Green Andy Dalton Cincinnati Bengals Cleveland Browns Colt McCoy Pat Shurmur Peyton Hillis

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