Cleveland at Cincinnati

Bengals break losing streak at 10 by beating Browns

CBSSports.com wire reports
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CINCINNATI -- Cedric Benson blinked back tears as he stood in front of his locker, still wearing his black No. 32 jersey. He couldn't stop them all.

A lone teardrop slid down his right cheek, getting wiped away before it reached his tell-all smile.

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Benson ran the Bengals out of their record-matching slump on Sunday, picking up a season-high 150 yards and scoring a touchdown as the focal point of an offense that flattened the Cleveland Browns 19-17 on Sunday.

Felt like old times.

"I feel tremendous," he said. "A lot of joy right now. My elbows and arms are sore and things like that, which feels great. It feels good to work."

And to win.

The Bengals (3-11) hadn't done that since Sept. 26, falling into a torturous streak longer than even The T.Ocho Show featuring their two attention-loving receivers. Terrell Owens was on the sideline with a knee injury for the long-awaited win.

Instead, Cincinnati took a straight-ahead approach against the Browns (5-9), reverting to the run-based attack that won the AFC North last season and changed significantly after Owens was signed. The 37-year-old receiver became the Bengals' most productive player while the running game broke down.

Benson didn't understand it.

"I was sending out warning signals earlier, talking about how we've got to stay with the running game, just get the spark, the energy, the identity developed," Benson said. "We kind of became a one-man show for a minute there."

CBSSports.com Grades
Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns
D-
The Browns continue to play down to weak opponents, though it must now be offered that they simply played over their heads against superior foes this season. The Browns showed again that they're woefully lacking in playmakers and they were dominated at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.
By Martin Gitlin
RapidReports Correspondent

Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals
B+
The Bengals win was a throwback to 2009. They committed to running the ball, not turning it over and playing stingy defense. Itís a wonder it took 14 games to figure out that philosophy works, but it provided the first victory in 83 days.
By Paul Dehner
RapidReports Correspondent

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They were again on Sunday, with a different leader.

"It was exciting," left tackle Andrew Whitworth said. "We've wanted to pound the rock like that for a while and get a chance to unleash the boss man on them, and we did."

A week after he carried only eight times for 19 yards and got outrushed by Ben Roethlisberger in a 23-7 loss in Pittsburgh, Benson had another big game against the Browns, who clinched their 10th losing record in 12 years since returning as an expansion team.

"In my mind, we should be able to stop the run," Browns coach Eric Mangini said. "That's a big part of playing in this division, and you should be able to get that done."

Only 56,542 fans showed up to see the so-called "Battle of Ohio," the third straight Bengals home game blacked out on local television.

Wasn't all that much to see.

A matchup of two struggling offenses produced more field goals than touchdowns. Clint Stitser made four of them, remaining perfect on seven field goal tries since the Bengals signed him in late November. The rookie was good from 25, 39, 34 and 20 yards.

The Browns got a touchdown pass from rookie Colt McCoy on a trick play that completed their opening drive, then did little until a Bengal breakdown made it interesting at the end. Receiver Brian Robiskie got free down the sideline against a broken coverage for a 46-yard touchdown pass with 2:13 to go, cutting it to 19-17.

With only two timeouts left, the Browns went for the onside kick and Cincinnati's Quan Cosby recovered, allowing the Bengals to finish it off.

"We've just got to do a better job of staying on the field," said McCoy, who was 19 of 25 for 243 yards with no interceptions and four sacks.

"A big part of that is us. We've got to sustain drives. We can't get into a slump and put ourselves in that situation over and over. We could not get a ground game going."

The Bengals' losing streak began with a 23-20 loss in Cleveland on Oct. 3, where Owens had one of the best games of his career -- 10 catches for 222 yards. The streak eventually matched Dave Shula's 1993 team for longest losing streak in one Bengals season.

It ended without a catch by Owens, who missed practice last week with torn cartilage in his left knee and hobbled off the field during Cincinnati's opening drive after running a long route. The injury will likely sideline him for the final two games.

From then on, it was up to Benson. The running back, who is on the final year of his contract, carried a season-high 31 times during his third 100-yard game of the season. He broke an 18-yard touchdown run in the second quarter for Cincinnati's first points.

Cleveland got creative on the opening drive, catching the Bengals by surprise. Only three linemen got set in the middle of the field while the other players fanned out toward the sidelines. Tight end Robert Royal outran the coverage down the sideline for a 20-yard touchdown catch.

Mangini has decided to let McCoy start the last three games. How McCoy does could have an impact on whether Mangini keeps his job.

Notes

  • The Browns were flagged for not keeping their sideline clear during a kickoff return. Teams were reminded of the rule last week in response to a Jets assistant coach tripping a Dolphins player.
  • CB Eric Wright hurt his left knee in the fourth quarter and had to be helped off the field.
  • Bengals WR Jerome Simpson was active for only the fourth time this season and had two catches for 30 yards. Coming into the game, the second-round pick from 2008 had one career catch for 2 yards.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Sun. Dec. 19Final
7001017
0106319
BrownsBengals
Pass: C. McCoy (19-25, 243) C. Palmer (14-23, 209)
Rush: P. Hillis (14-59) C. Benson (31-150)
Rec: B. Watson (7-92) A. Caldwell (4-89)
Scoring Summary
1ST QUARTER
TDRobert Royal, 20 Yd pass from Colt McCoy (Phil Dawson kick is good), 12:08. Drive: 6 plays, 75 yards in 2:52.
2ND QUARTER
TDCedric Benson, 18 Yd run (Clint Stitser kick is good), 12:52. Drive: 10 plays, 91 yards in 6:15.
FGClint Stitser, 25 Yd, 4:19. Drive: 13 plays, 68 yards in 7:27.
3RD QUARTER
FGClint Stitser, 39 Yd, 11:11. Drive: 8 plays, 39 yards in 3:49.
FGClint Stitser, 34 Yd, 3:33. Drive: 10 plays, 37 yards in 5:26.
4TH QUARTER
FGPhil Dawson, 23 Yd, 14:06. Drive: 9 plays, 61 yards in 4:27.
FGClint Stitser, 20 Yd, 9:58. Drive: 9 plays, 77 yards in 4:08.
TDBrian Robiskie, 46 Yd pass from Colt McCoy (Phil Dawson kick is good), 2:13. Drive: 5 plays, 88 yards in 1:53.
Players of the Game

C. Benson
Rush 31
Yds 150
Avg 4.8
TD 1
Washington

C. McCoy
Att 25
Comp 19
Yds 243
TD 2
 
Cleveland
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
C. McCoy19/2524320
RushingATTYDSTDLG
P. Hillis1459018
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
B. Watson792024
B. Robiskie582146
R. Royal229120
P. Hillis223012
M. Massaquoi111011
J. Cribbs1404
C. Stuckey1202
Cincinnati
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
C. Palmer14/2320900
RushingATTYDSTDLG
C. Benson31150118
B. Scott84008
C. Palmer5-102
B. Leonard1-10-1
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
A. Caldwell489053
C. Ochocinco236020
J. Simpson230015
B. Leonard120020
J. Shipley21409
Q. Cosby111011
J. Gresham1606
R. Kelly1303
Complete Player Stats
Other Games
SF 7 Final
SD 34
NO 24 Final
BAL 30
ARI 12 Final
CAR 19
WAS 30 Final
DAL 33
JAC 24 Final
IND 34
BUF 17 Final
MIA 14
PHI 38 Final
NYG 31
KC 27 Final
STL 13
DET 23 Final
TB 20
HOU 17 Final
TEN 31
ATL 34 Final
SEA 18
DEN 23 Final
OAK 39
NYJ 22 Final
PIT 17
GB 27 Final
NE 31
CHI 40 Final
MIN 14