Cleveland Browns: Dawg Pound set for hostile takeover in Cincinnati

CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 26: Duke Johnson Jr. #29 of the Cleveland Browns runs the ball against George Iloka #43 of the Cincinnati Bengals in the first half of a game at Paul Brown Stadium on November 26, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 26: Duke Johnson Jr. #29 of the Cleveland Browns runs the ball against George Iloka #43 of the Cincinnati Bengals in the first half of a game at Paul Brown Stadium on November 26, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

A hostile takeover of Paul Browns Stadium may be in the works this Sunday, as Cleveland Browns fans descend upon the Bengal’s home turf.

Just as the Cleveland Browns fan base is getting revved up after a few wins with an exciting young quarterback and a sharp new coach, the Bengals fan base seems to be losing patience with coach Marvin Lewis, who has been the head coach since 2003.

Football isn’t always fair. Coach Lewis deserves credit for stabilizing the franchise after more than a decade of habitual poor finishes, mainly due to Brown acting as his own General Manager. Marvin is unquestionably an accomplished coach, going13 games over .500 in his 16-year career, but the perception is that he and his good-but-not-great quarterback, Andy “The Red Rifle” Dalton, cannot win a playoff game (currently 0 and 7).

That may not impress Browns fans who are used to 3-36-1, but it has taken 16 years to accumulate that losing streak, and the Jungle is becoming agitated.   Moreover, the hope was that Marvin was a super defensive coach after coordinating the 2002 Super Bowl Ravens defense. But his Bengal teams have never approached that standard.

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Hence, Bengals fans are staying away from Paul Brown Stadium, averaging only a shade over 52,000 fans for five home dates so far. That would be good for last in the NFL, were it not for the fact that the Los Angeles Chargers are playing in a temporary stadium with a capacity of fewer than 30,000.

Because Cincinnati is only a four-hour drive from northeast Ohio, Browns fans will be able to take advantage of the ticket availability. Sites such as StubHub are offering tickets for under $50, which is almost unheard-of for a division game.

In addition, the team is going through a bit of a crisis. They are giving up acres of real estate on the ground. When have you ever heard of an NFL team giving up 265 yards on the ground while considering that a significant improvement?

While Lamar Jackson deserves great credit for his accomplishments on the field, it is amazing that Baltimore ran the ball 54 times versus the Bengals and basically destroyed them with a rookie quarterback in his first-ever NFL start.

ESPN’s Mike Golic has often said that the worst feeling for a pro defense is to get beat and overpowered on the ground. Well, that would be the Bengals this year, thus there is a tangible reason for the low morale among the fan base. If the Browns can get the lead on Sunday, likely the boos are going to rain down on the hometown Bengals.

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A similar situation occurred in 2014, the last time the Browns beat the Bengals in Cincinnati. Casey Kinnamon of Dawg Pound Daily recalls a Browns-Bengals game in 2014, in which visiting Browns fans had a major presence.

"“The Browns took control early running the football and never let the Bengals in the game. By the 4th quarter, all the Bengals fans left and it was just Browns fans in the stadium. We took over Paul Brown stadium that night. It was electric. Everyone was chanting ‘Bri-an Hoy-er’.”"

Brian Hoyer? Winning football? It is possible, and perhaps the Browns are headed in that direction.

A clue that we may be in for another game like 2014 comes from the Twitter traffic. Martin McConnell, also of DPD, suggests that Hue Jackson’s signing has heated up the Cincinnati-Cleveland rivalry.

"“One thing I’ve noticed is that the Browns/Bengals rivalry has come alive on Twitter ever since the Bengals picked up Hue. It’s been like nothing I’ve seen in years.”"

The signing of Hue Jackson after his horrific 3-36-1 performance adds a surreal atmosphere to this game. Do you think that the Browns fans are mad at Hue Jackson for going right back to work for a team in the AFC North?

Well, it isn’t much better in the Jungle, where their team just fired their defensive coordinator, Teryl Austin, with Marvin taking over the defensive coordinator role. Now “Quarterback Whisperer” Hue Jackson is going to help the defense as a special assistant?

It’s remarkable how much negativity Hue Jackson has generated on both teams. At any rate, the first edition was not very successful, as mentioned previously. Giving up 265 yards on the ground does not sound like much improvement, but on the other hand, New Orleans dropped 51 points on them the previous week, and prior to that, they gave up 34 to Tampa Bay and 45 more to Kansas City.

New Orleans, incidentally, racked up 244 yards on the ground. So we have yet to see vast improvement from Marvin and Hue, so perhaps holding a rookie-led team to a mere 27 points and 265 rushing yards sound pretty good by comparison.

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This may be the perfect storm, as the Bengals may be in the process of imploding, and Marvin and Hue may not be able to stop it. The combination of a disappointed and angry Bengal fan base, as well as an encouraged Browns fan base, may make it a fun time in Cincinnati this Sunday. So drive carefully, designate a driver, and fasten your seat belts.