CLEVELAND — On Monday Night Football in Cleveland, the Cleveland Browns won a dominant defense and a pair Nick Chubb touchdown runs to win 32-13 over the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Browns finally came to life on Halloween night.
On the way to a dominant victory, Cleveland defeated Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow. This gave its moribund season an extra boost and set it up for a bye week.
After scoring in 41 consecutive halves, the Bengals entered Monday Night Football having won four straight. The Browns’ defense, which had been resurgent, ended that streak and held Cincinnati scoreless in the opening half. In addition, the Bengals defense had never allowed a touchdown in the second half of the season. To put the game out reach, Cleveland scored touchdowns on its two first drives after halftime.
The Browns (3-5), still have work ahead of them to get back in the AFC playoff picture. Their season is not over with this win.
Take a look at this: The Browns were ranked 30th in defensive efficiency going into week. After a promising performance in Baltimore’s loss, Cleveland’s defense has finally met its preseason expectations. Talent is not an issue. The Browns may have found the missing chemistry and cohesiveness.
The Next Gen stat that is eye-catching: Browns QB Jacoby Bristsett had an average throw time of 3.24 seconds per pass. He completed 17 of 22 passes, totaling 278 yards. This includes 259 passing yards when he was given less than 2.5 seconds.
Bold prediction for next Week: The Browns will not trade Kareem Hunt before Tuesday’s trade deadline, despite rumors about trades surrounding him running back. Cleveland might have traded Hunt (who is in his last year of the deal) for a late-round draft pick if they lost Monday. Hunt played a key role in Cleveland’s win over the Bengals and it should have been enough for the Browns to trade Hunt for a late-round pick. Jake Trotter
An underrated statistic you should know: Myles Garrett’s first-half tackle sack made him the first Browns player to have at least 65 sacks since 1982, when the statistic was officially established.
Next game: at Dolphins (1.pm. ET, Nov. 13)
The Bengals were in a close race with the Baltimore Ravens for the AFC North. Losing to the Browns would have a negative impact on Cincinnati’s chances to be crowned division champions again. Cincinnati (4-4) wasn’t just defeated, but it suffered a crushing loss in a game that was not as close as the score indicated.
The Bengals finished last season at 4-2 in AFC North play. They swept Baltimore and Pittsburgh. Cincinnati’s margin of error for the remainder of the season is reduced by Cincinnati’s fifth consecutive loss to Cleveland in the series.
Two words can describe the game: A brutal showing. Cincinnati’s night began poorly and was shattered throughout the game. The Bengals couldn’t even beat a struggling Cleveland team.
QB breakdown: Cincinnati’s offense looked much the same as the one that was struggling early in the season without Chase. Joe Burrow, the Bengals’ quarterback, was not as productive downfield than he was in last week’s game against Atlanta Falcons. According to NFL Next Gen Stats, 15 of Burrow’s 21 first attempts were for less than 10 yards. Burrow made a few downfield plays when the game was balanced. Whether Chase was absent or not, Burrow and his offense didn’t have it.
Pivotal play: Cincinnati was again troubled by Garrett’s infield. Things looked promising on the Bengals’ initial drive, but Garrett stole the line of scrimmage to hit a Burrow pass in the air. Browns cornerback A.J. Green III intercepted Green III’s deflection. The Bengals continued to play on the back foot, and eventually lost the deflection.
Hole in the Game Plan: In spite of all the talk about Cleveland’s running attack, it was backup quarterback Brissett that tore through Cincinnati’s defense through air. The Browns were averaging 9.2 yards per pass attempt at one point. Cincinnati’s efforts were hampered by the injury to cornerback ChidobeAwuzie at the half-time. Cam Taylor-Britt was the second-round selection of this team and made his NFL debut opposite Awuzie. — Ben Baby
An underrated statistic you should know: Burrow has thrown interceptions on Burrow’s opening drive in all three of his previous starts against Browns.
Next game: vs. Panthers (1.pm. ET, Sunday)