Thursday November 5, 2015
Despite a blocked punt and furious no-huddle drive in the final minutes, Johnny Manziel and the Browns offense came up short of the goal line. Unfortunately, that drive presented the only first downs the Browns had achieved through the entire second half.
Manziel, getting the start for the injured Josh McCown finally began to find rapport with wide receiver Dwayne Bowe on that final drive including an impressive fourth and ten conversion. It was too little, too late though as the Browns allowed a close 14-10 game at half-time dissolve into a 31-10 blowout.
The game began with one first down by Manziel and the offense before being forced to punt it away. Dalton and the Bengals offense came out firing early, converting a third down with a 29-yard pass to receiver Marvin Jones. Dalton eventually found tight end Tyler Eifert for the game’s first touchdown, one of three end-zone connections between Dalton and Eifert in the contest tying a franchise record for both most touchdowns in a game and the season by a tight end, three and nine respectively.
The Browns offense responded with a field goal on the following drive before both defenses settled in. Cornerback Tramon Williams had an especially impressive night in coverage for the Browns. However on another touchdown drive before the half, critical penalties against veteran defensive lineman Randy Starks allowed the Bengals offense to stay on the field.
With the score 14-3, Manziel orchestrated a 10 play, 92 yard touchdown drive, capped by a pass from Manziel to rookie running back Duke Johnson Jr. for 12 yards with 19 seconds to play in the half. The Bengals were content with a 14-10 lead at halftime, Head Coach Marvin Lewis telling sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson that his defense needed to keep Manziel contained in the pocket.
Out of half time, the Bengals extended their lead to 17-10 while the Cincinatti defense, led by a surging defensive line put on a clinic, smothering Manziel in the pocket. The Bengals defense held the Browns offense to zero first downs in the second half until less than four minutes to go while the offense put the game out of reach with two more touchdowns from Dalton to Eifert.
The win brings the Bengals to 8-0, while the Browns fall to 2-7 with a tough road trip to Pittsburgh upcoming. The Bengals have an 11-day break before facing the Houston Texans on Monday, November 16.