The last time that the Cleveland Browns swept the Cincinnati Bengals in a season series was back in 2002 when Butch Davis was our head coach. After beating the Bengals back in week four, the Browns had a chance on Sunday to do what they hadn't done in over 10 years.
Everything started off good for Cleveland in the first quarter. After driving to put the first points on the board via field goal, Joe Haden took control, intercepting Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton in two straight drives. Haden's second interception was returned 29 yards for a touchdown to put the Browns up 13-0 over the division leading Bengals.
Haden, who has three interceptions in his last two games, won the second "battle of elites" against Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green. Along with his touchdown and pair of interceptions, Haden held Green to seven yards on only two catches. Haden also shut down Green earlier this year in the Browns week 4 win over the Bengals.
Jason Campbell had the city of Cleveland buzzing after his first two starts as a Brown, leading his team to a victory over the Baltimore Ravens in week 9 before Cleveland's week 10 bye. He also kept things respectable when the Browns went down to the NFL's lone undefeated team, the Kansas City Chiefs in week 8. Today clearly wasn't Campbell's day as he threw his first three interceptions of the year as the Brown's offense struggled to put points on the board when it mattered most.
Josh Gordon, who was pretty quiet in the week 9 victory over the Baltimore Ravens, was a bright spot on an ugly day for the now (4-6) Brownies'. Gordon led both teams in receiving, catching five passes for 125 yards, including a 74 yard touchdown pass in the third quarter.
The running game was nonexistent for the Browns in the 41-20 loss on Sunday. Excluding a 44 yard run from Chris Ogbonnaya, the Browns as a team rushed for 59 yards on 18 carries.
The Bengals ability to get the ground game going, superb special teams play and winning the turnover battle were the deciding factors in this AFC North showdown. Combined, Bengals running back's Giovanni Bernard and BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran for 107 on 26 carries. Cincinnati's punt return team also blocked two punts. Tony Dye, who was on the practice squad just two days ago recovered one of those blocked punts and returned it 28 yards for a touchdown to put the Bengals up 21-13 over the Browns during their 31 point second quarter.
A defense that has an abundance of injuries, including All-Pro defensive tackle Geno Atkins, turned in an impressive performance Sunday afternoon. James Harrison, Reggie Nelson and Michael Johnson each recorded an interception against a struggling Brown's offense. Jason Campbell was also sacked four times and hit nine times during the stormy day at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Next up the Browns will host the rival Pittsburgh Steelers. Both teams are tied for last place in the AFC North with records of (4-6). The Steelers are fresh off of a 37-27 victory over the Detroit Lions. The (7-4) division leading Bengals will travel to Qualcomm Stadium next week to take on Phillip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers.