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Bengals Return Home To Host The Browns In Week 9


Kickoff: 1 p.m. Eastern.

Television: The game will air nationally on CBS-TV. In the Bengals' home region, it will be carried by WKRC-TV (Ch. 12) in Cincinnati, WHIO-TV (Ch. 7) in Dayton and on WKYT-TV (Ch. 27) in Lexington. Broadcasters are Jim Nantz (play-by-play), Tony Romo (analyst) and Tracy Wolfson (sideline reporter).

Radio: The game will air on the Bengals Radio Network, led by Cincinnati flagship stations WLW-AM (700), WCKY-AM (ESPN 1530; all sports) and WEBN-FM (102.7). Broadcasters are Dan Hoard (play-by-play) and Dave Lapham (analyst).

Setting the scene: The Bengals this week return home to face the division-rival Cleveland Browns on Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium. Cincinnati will be looking to rebound from a 34-31 upset loss at the N.Y. Jets last week.

"We got out-coached and out-played," said Bengals head coach Zac Taylor. "They were a hungry team, and we knew that they were capable of this. We'd seen it on tape. They took it to us."

After a back-and-forth battle for much of the game, the double-digit favorite Bengals took what seemed at the time to be a decisive 11-point lead midway through the fourth quarter when QB Joe Burrow connected with WR Tyler Boyd for a 10-yard score. Burrow tossed three TDs against the Jets, which made him only the second player in league history to begin either their rookie or second NFL season with multiple TD passes in their first eight games (Dan Marino did it his first 10 games in 1984).

"They gave us their best shot, and we answered their blows," Burrow said after the game. "But they were the better team today, and that's all it comes down to. They beat us."

After Boyd's TD, the Jets answered with a score of their own on the next possession to cut Cincinnati's lead to five. On the ensuing Bengals drive, Cincinnati, which had scored TDs on each of its two previous possessions, remained aggressive deep in their own territory. But on the very first play, Jets DE Shaq Lawson tipped a Burrow pass at the line of scrimmage and intercepted it, giving the ball back to the Jets inside the red zone.

New York found the end zone two plays later, and then took a three-point lead on a trick play on the two-point conversion. After being forced to punt on the ensuing possession, Cincinnati figured to get one more shot on offense with just under two minutes remaining, after their defense seemingly made a key stop on a third-and-11. But CB Mike Hilton was called for unnecessary roughness on the tackle, resulting in an automatic first down for the Jets. New York ultimately was able to run out the clock and seal the win.

The Jets gained 511 total yards and scored 34 points on a Bengals defense that entered the contest ranked in the top 10 leaguewide in both yards and points allowed. Cincinnati had been the last team in the NFL that had not allowed more than 25 points in a game this season.

"Things we've been doing good all year, we didn't do today," said Bengals S Jessie Bates. "It's simple: We didn't make enough plays, we gave up 34 points and we didn't tackle well enough."

Tackling figures to be an important factor on Sunday against Cleveland, which arrives in Cincinnati with the NFL's top-ranked rushing offense (161.1 yards per game).

"I think our guys are mature enough and professional enough to be able to put this loss behind us when we need to," Taylor said. "We've just got to turn our focus toward Cleveland and move on.

Cleveland enters this week's game 4-4, after losing 15-10 at home to Pittsburgh on Sunday.

Check out some of the best images of the Bengals-Browns series games in Cincinnati.

The series: The Bengals lead 51-44 in the "Battle of Ohio" series and have won nine of the last 15 games. Home field has been a factor over the series, as the Bengals lead 31-17 at home but trail 20-27 as the road club.

Cincinnati has played more games against Cleveland (95) than any foe except Pittsburgh. The Bengals have 102 all-time games against the Steelers (regular season).

Cleveland swept Cincinnati in 2020. The Bengals' last win over the Browns was the second meeting of 2019 at Cincinnati. That was the Bengals' only win in the past three seasons, as the Browns have won five of the last six matchups.

More series notes:

  • When Cleveland swept Cincinnati in 2018, it was the Browns' first season sweep over the Bengals since 2002.
  • Cleveland's win in Game 11 of 2018 snapped a seven-game Bengals winning streak against the Browns. That streak, the Bengals' longest in the series, began with the second meeting of 2014. The Bengals' previous longest streak had been a five-game run from Game 2 of 2004 through Game 2 of '06.
  • The Browns' longest win streak over Cincinnati also has been seven games, extending from Game 2 of the 1992 season through Game 2 of '95.
  • Since the Browns' rebirth in 1999, the Bengals lead 27-17, including 15-7 as the home team and 12-10 as the visiting team.

Bengals carry "Mo" into halftime: The Bengals this season have scored a combined 37 points in the last two minutes of the first half. That total is third among all NFL teams. When divided out among Cincinnati's eight games, that's an average of 4.6 points per game in the last two minutes. The Bengals have gotten points in the last two minutes of the first half in six of their eight games this season.

... And come out firing after the break: Not only are the Bengals one of the NFL's top teams at scoring before halftime, they're also among the leaders in points scored (34) on the first possession of the second half. Cincinnati has come away with points on its first offensive possession of the second half in six of its eight games this season (four TDs, two FGs).

It should be noted that the Bengals have received the opening kickoff of the second half in seven of their eight games this year, thanks in large part to a streak of luck that saw them win the opening coin toss in each of their first six games. The Bengals deferred to the second half in each of those six games.

Burrow approaching 5K: Bengals QB Joe Burrow enters Sunday's game vs. Cleveland just 97 passing yards shy of 5000 for his career. Sunday will be Burrow's 19th career game, and if he does hit 5000, he will be only the sixth player ever to reach that mark in as few games. Only Patrick Mahomes (16 games) and Justin Herbert (17) reached it quicker. Andrew Luck, Kurt Warner and March Bulger each took 19 games to hit the mark.

In Bengals history, Jeff Blake, Andy Dalton and Carson Palmer were the quickest to 5000 yards, but it took them 22 games. It took Burrow 16 games to reach 4000 yards, two games quicker than Blake and Palmer (18) for fastest by a Bengal.

Recapping Burrow's NFL journey: Bengals QB Joe Burrow has returned healthy this year after his rookie campaign last season ended due to a left knee injury suffered early in the third quarter of Cincinnati's Nov. 22 game at Washington. With one of the top statistical seasons by any rookie in Bengals history cut short, the 24-year old Burrow had surgery on Dec. 2 and then embarked on a long rehab process. He was medically cleared in time to take the first snap of training camp on July 28, and participated fully in every practice (save for one scheduled rest day). Bengals coaches played it safe with Burrow in preseason though, limiting him to just three snaps, which came in the preseason finale vs. Miami.

Shortly after his injury last season, Burrow had vowed publicly that he would start Cincinnati's 2021 season opener. On Sept. 12 vs. Minnesota, a little more than nine months after his injury, he not only made good on that promise, he posted then-career highs in passer rating (128.8), completion percentage (74.1) and yards per attempt (9.67) in a dramatic Bengals OT win. Burrow's 46-yard drive in the waning minutes of OT set up a game-winning FG as time expired.

So far this season, Burrow has completed 167 of 246 passes (67.9 percent) for 2215 yards, 20 TDs and nine INTs (108.0 rating). Joe goes 2 x 8: Second-year Bengals QB Joe Burrow has tossed at least two TDs in each of Cincinnati's first eight games this season. The only other rookie or second-year player to accomplish that feat was Pro Football Hall of Fame QB Dan Marino, who tossed at least two TDs in each of his team's first 10 games in 1984 (his second season).