Game Preview

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Game Preview Week 17: Browns at Bengals

181102-Dennard-Darquise_back_pedal (AP)

Kickoff: 1 p.m. Eastern.

Television: The game will air on FOX-TV. In Cincinnati, it will be carried by WXIX-TV (Ch. 19). Broadcasters are Brandon Gaudin (play-by-play), Robert Smith (analyst) and Megan Olivi (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 wrap up their 2019 season by hosting the division-rival Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium on Sunday. Cincinnati currently stands at 1-14, after falling 38-35 in a dramatic overtime battle at Miami last week.

"A lot of the things that we preach, and how we talk about what a Bengal is — a physical, hungry, accountable teammate who's willing to do his all to get the job done — I saw that so many times (against Miami)," said Bengals head coach Zac Taylor. "We were on the road, and in a game that we could have been out of early — but we weren't. Our guys fought to the very end, and those are the things we need to continue to build off of."

Miami maintained a comfortable lead for much of the game, but Cincinnati stormed back for what will go down as one of the most dramatic comebacks in NFL history. The Bengals trailed by 23 points midway through the fourth quarter, before what seemed like an insignificant TD pass from QB Andy Dalton to TE C.J. Uzomah cut the Dolphins' lead to 16 with 6:15 to play.

Dalton then led Cincinnati on a 14-play, 63-yard drive that was capped by a three-yard TD pass to WR Tyler Boyd with 29 seconds remaining. Miami's lead was cut to eight, after Dalton found TE Tyler Eifert in the end zone for a successful two-point conversion.

The Bengals then recovered an onside kick by K Randy Bullock, who earlier in the game made a 57-yard FG, a career-long and the longest in Bengals history. Bullock became the first NFL player in four seasons to make a FG of at least 55 yards and convert a successful onside kick in the same game (the most recent had been Jets K Nick Folk on Oct. 25, 2015).

Four plays later, Dalton found Eifert in the end zone for a 25-yard TD as time expired. Dalton then ran in the two-point conversion himself to cap the furious comeback and send the game to overtime. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first-ever instance of a team scoring at least 16 points in the final 29 seconds of a game, regardless of the score at the time.

Cincinnati's momentum, though, stalled in OT. The Bengals went three-andout on both of their offensive possessions in the extra period, while Miami used a time-consuming 10-play drive on their third possession of OT to set up a 37-yard game-winning FG as the extra period expired.

"For all the emotion we felt when we got back into it and got into overtime, you certainly felt like, 'We're going to go win this game. We're going to win it,'" Taylor said. "We fought our way back. But when you don't win in it, you're almost confused, to be quite frank with you."

This week, the Bengals will attempt to end their season on a high note. Among the many storylines are HB Joe Mixon's pursuit of 1000 rushing yards for the second straight season (needs 25 yards), along with WR Tyler Boyd's pursuit of 1000 receiving yards for the second straight season (needs 13 yards). If they both hit their marks, they would join HB Rudi Johnson and WR Chad Johnson (2004-05 and '05-06) as the only duo in Bengals history to accomplish those feats together in back-to-back seasons.

Cleveland enters Sunday's season finale with a 6-9 record, after falling 3115 at home to Baltimore last week.

The series: The Bengals lead 50-42 in the "Battle of Ohio" series and have won eight of the last 12 games. Home field has been a factor over the length of the series, as the Bengals lead 30-16 at home but trail 20-26 as the road club.

The Bengals have played more games against the Browns (92) than any foe except Pittsburgh. The Bengals have 101 all-time games against the Steelers.

The Browns won the two teams' first meeting this season, 27-19 on Dec. 8 at FirstEnergy Stadium.

More series notes:

  • The Browns swept the Bengals in 2018. It was Cleveland's first season sweep over the Bengals since 2002.
  • Cleveland's win in Game 11 last season 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 26-15, including 12-9 as the visiting team and 14-6 as the home team.

Bengals seek to regain biggest 'Battle' margin: With its two victories over Cincinnati in 2018 and its win earlier this season, Cleveland has whittled the Bengals' largest lead of 11 games in the team's all-time series down to eight games. The Bengals' 11-game lead after the 2017 season set the benchmark for the biggest lead held by either side in the "Battle of Ohio" series, which began in 1970. This weekend's game at Paul Brown Stadium is the teams' second meeting this season.

The series began with the Browns winning six of the first seven, and their five-game margin at 6-1, after the first meeting of 1973, stands as their largest lead. The Bengals lead 49-35 since that Cleveland high-water mark. The Browns have not led the series since the end of 2005, when they held a 33-32 edge.

Since surrendering that 33-32 lead by giving up a sweep in the 2006 meetings, the Browns have twice pulled into ties — at 34-34 after game one of '07 and at 35-35 after game one of '08. But the Browns have now endured a 13-year stretch without a lead in the series. Barring possible additions to the series in postseason play, the Bengals cannot surrender their series lead until after the first game of 2023, at the earliest. The Browns could not lead again until after the second game of '23.

At the top of the list: Here's a look at where the Bengals rank — both individually and in team categories — among the top 10 in the NFL.

BRANDON WILSON (Reserve/Injured)

  • First in yards per kickoff return (31.3).
  • Fifth in kickoff return yards (625).
  • Tied for first in kickoff returns of at least 40 yards (four).
  • Sixth in kickoff returns of at least 20 yards (16).

BENGALS TEAM:

  • Third in yards gained per kickoff return (26.4).
  • Fourth in yards allowed per kickoff return (19.1).
  • Third in average starting field position (26.6).
  • Third in opponents' average starting field position (23.6).
  • Sixth in yards allowed per punt return (5.5).
  • Sixth in fewest penalties (90).
  • Sixth in fewest penalty yards (741).
  • Sixth in defensive red-zone TD percentage (49.0)

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