The big takeaway from this game is how far QB Johnny Manziel has come since the first start of his career against the Cincinnati Bengals last year, when the Cleveland Browns were blown out 30-0. The bad news is that the Browns simply couldn't stack up with the Bengals again, falling by a final score of 31-10 on Thursday Night Football.
On Cincinnati's first drive of the game, QB Andy Dalton led his team down the field, finishing the drive with a 9-yard touchdown pass to TE Tyler Eifert. Manziel led the Browns inside the red zone to close out the first quarter, but Cleveland had to settle for a 27-yard field goal by K Travis Coons to make it a 7-3 game.
In the second quarter, DL Randy Starks made two critical errors on the same drive -- first drawing a taunting penalty, and then being offsides on a 4th-and-2 play where the Bengals were going for it. The offsides penalty led to Dalton finding Eifert in the end zone again, this time for a 2-yard touchdown, to give Cincinnati a 14-3 lead near the end of the first half. Manziel closed out the half with the Browns' longest drive of the season, going 92 yards and being capped off with a 12-yard touchdown pass to RB Duke Johnson. The Browns trailed 14-10 at the half.
The Browns couldn't muster a first down offensively in the third quarter, and Cincinnati tacked on a field goal to go up 17-10. At the start of the fourth quarter, the Browns' defense was completely fooled on a reverse play to WR Mohamed Sanu, who ran up the left sideline untouched for a 25-yard touchdown. That gave the Bengals a 24-10 lead, and on the Browns' next series, Manziel was sacked on back to-back plays, forcing another punt.
On the Bengals' next drive, Eifert scored his third touchdown of the game, a 19-yard pass from Dalton, with CB Tramon Williams in coverage. The 31-10 lead mid-way through the fourth quarter had to feel like a familiar sign for Browns fans, who saw Arizona out-score Cleveland 24-0 in the second half this past Sunday, and now Cincinnati out-score Cleveland 17-0 in the second half.
- QB Johnny Manziel: 15-of-33 (45.45%) for 168 yards, 1 TD. 4 rushes, 31 yards.
- RB Isaiah Crowell: 9 carries, 42 yards (4.6 YPC). 3 catches, 26 yards. (first half)
- RB Isaiah Crowell: 1 carry, -4 yards (-4.0 YPC). (second half)
- RB Duke Johnson: 2 catches, 38 yards, 1 TD.
He seemed to disappear in the second half again, though.
- For the second week in a row, a Browns receiver arguably had at least three dropped passes. This week, it was Taylor Gabriel as the offender.
- OLB Paul Kruger registered his first full sack of the season.
- WR Marlon Moore blocked a punt.
- WR Dwayne Bowe got his first catches of the season. He finished the game with 3 catches for 31 yards.