Safety George Iloka had a big pick when Robert Griffin III finally looked Terrelle Pryor's way.
CLEVELAND _ The Bengals defense melted Robert Griffin III's return to the Browns on a 27-degreee day Sunday and fiery Pro Bowl cornerback Adam Jones' response to Browns leading wide receiver Terrelle Pryor defined Cincinnati's hot-blooded 23-10 victory.
"You in there?" asked Jones as he shook the waste basket next to his locker and fellow cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick joined in with delight after the game.
"It's the principal," Jones said. "When you've been playing so long and you do your work and then you get guys talking bleep that haven't done bleep. We take it personal. I know me and Dre did."
Jones is under the impression that at some point Pryor told Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther that he was going to get Jones cut after he played against him.
But no one could figure out if Pryor told Guenther that before the game in October. Or told him Sunday. Or told him in his two months Pryor was a Bengal quarterback in the spring of 2015. Apparently it stemmed from Cincinnati's 31-17 win over the Browns back in October.
Whatever it was, Jones had the last word. Pryor came into the game with more than 60 catches and 800 yards. But his fairytale rise from transplanted quarterback to leading receiver in less than a year went off the rails Sunday with one catch for three yards on three targets.
"I have the utmost respect for Hue," said Jones of Browns head coach Hue Jackson, the former Bengals assistant. "But certain bleep I don't tolerate. Young punks, really. Suburban kid that wants to act like he's the toughest thing in the world now because he caught a couple of balls. He's just arrogant with his teammates."
Bengals running back Jeremy Hill ended up with more yards rushing (111) than Griffin had passing (104) on the way to his 38.4 passer rating on 12 of 28 pitching.
"Did you all not see him when he was pushing and cussing at RGIII on the field?" Jones asked. "Like I told RGIII, 'How the bleep you going to throw him the ball (with) he talking to you like that? You're the bleeping quarterback."
Jones and Kirkpatrick kept going back to the waste basket.
"What's his name?" Kirkpatrick asked. "Trash."
Even when the questioning got around to the Bengals defense, Jones stayed hot in what turned into a surreal scene.
"Pryor sucks," Jones said. "I'm only answering questions about Pryor. Pryor sucks."
HILL CLIMBS 100 AGAIN: It has been up and down for Hill this season. Mostly down, but his two highs have been against the Browns and he followed up his career-high 168 yards back in October against them with his second 100-yard game of the season.
And believe that his LSU soulmate, Pro Bowl left tackle Andrew Whitworth, noticed
"That's the guy we need," Whitworth said. "The 32 that was here today, he's here every week, we've got a really good shot."
Whitworth says there are reasons Hill has been inconsistent and it's not all him. In his three seasons he's had two different coordinators and there have been injuries to quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver A.J. Green.
"He's finding his way, too," Whitworth said. "In three years we've changed a lot of different things. He's learning his way and we're figuring each other out. I think we kind of found a little something . He did a great job today."
Some things never change. Hill had the Bengals' 19th 100-yard game against the Browns in the 36th game since the series was revived when the Browns returned to the NFL in 1999.
NUGENT GETS A BIG ONE: Mike Nugent wasn't even sure what his 44-yard field goal made the score Sunday.
"It was just good to put three more points up there. They were kind of getting on a roll and it was nice to end that series with some points," Nugent said.
That gave them some breathing room in what had become an uncomfortably close game against the winless Browns with 8:38 left, 23-10. And after an uncomfortable moment his 39-yarder had been waved off because right tackle Eric Winston false started.
"Instantly my mind goes to, 'OK, I hit the ball well, I just have to hit it again,'" Nugent said. "In a perfect world the kick is the same. You hit the same exact ball. I was really happy that I hit that ball really well and I was able to answer it."
Because, let's face it. This has been far from a perfect world for the Nugent this season. Although it wasn't his fault, he missed his sixth extra point of the season when holder Kevin Huber didn't get down a high snap. His field-goal percentage dipped to 82 percent when he suffered his first miss of less than 40 yards when he went wide right with a 36-yarder at the half-time gun. Wide right. Again.
"I hit one bad ball all day, unfortunately it was in the game," Nugent said. "You can't miss that. It's a must make … I kicked the ground … We practice on that kind of grass every day. I just hit behind the ball too bad."
But the one that mattered was true in the fourth quarter.
"I pride myself on moving from one kick to the next whether they're good or bad,"' Nugent said.
The PAT miss came after the Bengals' second touchdown. It was long snapper Tyler Ott's first malfunction in three games playing for the injured Clark Harris. A high snap was a tough one to grab Sunday.
"Kevin (Huber) does a great job," Nugent said of his holder. "Being really, really wet and cold on the field, he was trying to pin the laces out and the ball just slid out right from under."
Nugent ended up stabbing at the ball on the ground and what ensued was hilarity as the Browns tried to lateral their way down the field for two points until the Bengals got them down at the 50.
But not before left guard Clint Boling got crushed on the play. He survived to come back in the game, but Bengals head coach and NFL Competition Committee member Marvin Lewis wasn't pleased.
"That's just not good for football because guys get hurt on plays like that," Lewis said. "That's what I was worried about. There have been too many changing plays that have occurred on that this season. They have to try and tackle him. I credit them for doing a good job of lateraling the ball backward because once the ball touches the ground, it's a dead play. Once it's moving and it's legal like that, it's a good play."
Andy Dalton made the glove work Sunday.
GLOVE STORY: You have to say quarterback Andy Dalton made the good call when he worked with two gloves and for the first time put one on his throwing hand. He hit 14 of his first 18 passes and 20 of 28 for the game, good for 71.4 percent. He only had 180 yards in the spitting snow and 27 degrees bolstered by 15 to 20 mile-per-hour winds.
"I wasn't too worried with the snow," Dalton said. "The wind is a bigger factor. I felt good with the glove on my throwing hand. I have been practicing with it for a while just in case we got in a situation like today."
NUMBERS: The 23 points were the fewest the Browns have allowed this season … The 85 net yards passing allowed by the Bengals were the fewest since they were up here two years ago and held the Browns to 54 in Johnny Manziel's first NFL start, a 30-0 whitewash …
In the last three games here the Bengals have outscored the Browns, 90-13 …
The Bengals gave the Browns 254 yards, their second fewest of the season behind only Miami with 222 …The Browns rushing for 169 yards marks the fifth time the Bengals have allowed 150 yards rushing this season …
Cincinnati Bengals travel to take on the Cleveland Browns in week 14 of the regular season 12/11/2016