CLEVELAND- The Browns had a golden opportunity to take an early 7-0 lead. Emmanuel Ogbah knocked the ball out of Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton.
The Browns recovered the football at the 30 yard line. This was almost a guaranteed score one way or the other. However, it was another familiar failed opportunity. Cleveland didn’t move the ball downfield.
In addition to that, Zane Gonzalez missed an easy field goal attempt. Browns starting quarterback DeShone Kizer passed for 118 yards and one touchdown.
If missing the golden opportunity from the turnover wasn’t bad enough, Kenny Britt bobbled an easy catch that was intercepted. The Bengals scored their second touchdown after the turnover. The Browns surrendered a third touchdown after a short catch by Giovanni Bernard turned into a 65 yard touchdown. The Browns were down 21-0 at halftime. Cleveland was clearly out of the game.
Cincinnati scored a field goal on their second possession. Down 24-0, it looked like the buses needed to warmed up and the fans had a reason to leave in the third quarter. The youngest team in the league proved why they lost three games. A fourth loss seemed inevitable. Was there any chance of another Bengals choke? Would Cincinnatti give up another big lead like the 21 to 7 advantage over the Green Bay Packers?
The answer was clearly no. Andy Dalton threw another easy touchdown to stretch the Bengals lead to 31-0 with 3:37 left in the third quarter. Dalton passed for 286 yards and four touchdowns.
Let that sink in for moment. The Browns were down 31-0 before the fourth quarter.
The deficit combined with the fact that the Bengals came into this game without a win added insult to injury. All of the mistakes and the deficit added to the frustration that the Browns fans felt. The camera showed the empty seats after the Bengals touchdown. The story was told right there. It was time for Browns fans to go home. The fans watching the game on television probably turned them off. The torture of seeing this young team losing by such a deficit was just too much to handle.
The Browns were bailed out by a roughing the passer penalty that would have been an interception by George Iloka early in the fourth quarter. Eventually Cleveland avoided the shutout by scoring one touchdown in a futile attempt to ease the pain. The Bengals defeated the Browns 31-7.