The Cleveland Browns (3-5) took scary to another level on Halloween night, as they haunted the Cincinnati Bengals (4-4) in a 32-13 win on their home turf Monday.
Cincinnati was coming into this game without their top receiver, Ja’Marr Chase, who will be out a few weeks with a hip injury. But Joe Burrow was confident that his other receiving options, namely Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd, along with the run game that Joe Mixon brings would keep their offensive threat potent.
But the Browns had the answer for just about everything throughout this game, and that allowed Jacoby Brissett and Nick Chubb on Cleveland’s offense to get to work.
Brissett finished the game with 278 yards through the air on only 22 attempts, completing 17 with a touchdown through the air and one rushing. Meanwhile, Chubb was tremendous yet again, as the NFL’s league leader in rushing had 101 yards on 23 carries with two scores.
Cleveland got off slow on offense despite the score. Cade York would miss a field goal on the team’s first drive after it was blocked, Amari Cooper threw an interception on a trick play and then they would punt after five plays.
But Brissett finally got something going in the second quarter when he got the ball all the way down to the Cincinnati eight-yard line, which led to Chubb finding the end zone for a league-leading ninth time on the ground. A two-point conversion made it 8-0.
The second half was a different story, though, as the Browns turned up the heat and their fans loved it. They began the half with an 11-play drive that resulted in Brissett sprawling toward the left pylon for a three-yard rushing score to make it 18-0.
And after the Browns’ defense forced a three-and-out, eight plays was all the Browns needed for Amari Cooper to win a one-on-one matchup to score his touchdown and make it hard for the Bengals to come back from a 25-0 deficit.
In fact, albeit the interception on his first career pass in the NFL, Cooper had his best game as a Brown. He finished with 131 yards on five catches, which included a 53-yard bomb from Brissett that Cooper caught after leaving his feet.
Chubb would eventually score his second touchdown of the night to cap the Browns’ solid offensive performance.
The Browns defense got to Burrow immediately in this game, which stymied their offense. Myles Garrett tipped a pass intended for Higgins and A.J. Green came up with the interception to switch fields. Then, after three straight punts, the Browns came away with another turnover, a fumble on a strip sack by Sione Takitaki.
They were also able to sack Burrow five times, as the Bengals’ line broke down. Garrett led the way with 1.5 sacks, giving him 7.5 on the season through seven games.
It would take Burrow and the offense until the fourth quarter to put their first points on the board, and it was Boyd and Higgins finding the end zone. Higgins had the highlight-reel play, though, snatching a ball out of the air over his defender for a 41-yard score.
Mixon didn’t help much in the run game, finishing with just 27 yards on the ground, though he had 32 yards on seven receptions.
Burrow remains winless in his career against the Browns, going 0-4 in his two seasons. Meanwhile, Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski is 5-0 against the Bengals.
The Bengals will face the Carolina Panthers in Cincinnati next week for a chance to bounce back, while the Browns head to their bye week before facing the Miami Dolphins on Nov. 13.