Final

Browns 20

(4-7, 1-4 away)

Bengals 23

(7-4, 3-2 home)

Coverage: CBS

1:00 PM ET, November 27, 2011

Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH 

1 2 3 4 T
CLE 7 10 3 020
CIN 7 0 10 623

Top Performers

Passing: A. Dalton (CIN) - 270 YDS, 1 TD

Rushing: C. Benson (CIN) - 21 CAR, 106 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: A. Green (CIN) - 3 REC, 110 YDS

Mike Nugent's 26-yard field goal boosts Bengals past Browns

Associated Press

CINCINNATI -- A.J. Green's bruised knee kept him on the sideline for the final minutes of Cincinnati's past two games, when the Bengals came up just short against AFC North rivals.

Finally up-and-running on Sunday, the rookie receiver made all the difference in the final minute.

Green made a leaping catch across the middle of the field and kept going for a 51-yard play, setting up a field goal that rallied the Cincinnati Bengals to a 23-20 victory over self-destructive Cleveland.

The surprising Bengals (7-4) stayed right behind Baltimore and Pittsburgh in the AFC North with another second-half comeback forged by their rookie big-play combination.

"I like my chances with A.J.," rookie quarterback Andy Dalton said. "You just put it around him and he makes plays. He's a special player."

The Browns blitzed on third-and-8, and Dalton threw it down the middle just before he got hit. Green adjusted, leaped high above cornerback Joe Haden for the catch at the 30-yard line, then kept going until he was pushed out at the 2.

"That's why he was the fourth pick in the draft," coach Marvin Lewis said. "He's the best first-round draft pick I've ever been around. He continues to amaze me. He's a phenomenal athlete."

The Browns (4-7) forced Cincinnati to settle for Mike Nugent's 26-yard field goal with 38 seconds left, the Bengals' first lead of the game. Cleveland's last possession went nowhere.

Cincinnati's turnaround season started in Cleveland, where the Browns failed to line up promptly and were surprised by a quick snap that led to Green's uncontested 41-yard touchdown catch.

That one was easy. This one was amazing.

"I did play basketball when I was younger," Green said. "It's like rebounding. A lot of it just timing and going up strong."

Green's game-turning play gave him 110 yards against the Browns, who along with the Steelers had been the only teams in the NFL that hadn't allowed a 100-yard receiving game.

"It was an amazing catch that won the game for them," Browns quarterback Colt McCoy said.

And a gut-wrenching gaffe set it up.

For the second time in three games, a botched snap cost Cleveland an opportunity to take a late lead. Phil Dawson was well short on a 55-yard try with 1:51 left after the snap skipped along the ground.

Dawson had already connected from 32 and 54 yards, his longest field goal of the season. On this one, he never had a chance.

Only weeks earlier, the Browns had the same thing happen. A bad snap caused Dawson to miss a 22-yard kick with 2:13 left, allowing St. Louis to close out a 13-12 win in Cleveland.

"It was a very bad snap," long snapper Ryan Pontbriand said. "I'm in a pretty tough slump right now."

It was a familiar outcome for the intrastate rivalry -- Cincinnati has won 12 of the past 15 games and six of seven at Paul Brown Stadium. Only 48,260 showed up at the 65,500-seat stadium to see a game decided by the bad snap and the great catch.

Cleveland was buoyed by the return of running back Peyton Hillis, who missed the past six games with a strained left hamstring. He carried 19 times for 65 yards, helping the Browns put together long drives and score 20 points for only the second time all season.

It wasn't enough.

Down 20-10 late in the third quarter, Dalton helped the Bengals get a win that kept them in the thick of the playoff chase. He was 21 of 31 for 270 yards and his 16th touchdown pass of the season, topping Greg Cook for the Bengals rookie record. Cedric Benson carried 21 times for 106 yards, his second 100-yard game against the Browns.

McCoy was 16 of 34 for 151 yards with a pair of touchdowns. His fourth-down pass was knocked away at midfield with 10 seconds to go, sealing Cincinnati's win.

McCoy's 24-yard pass to Jordan Norwood capped Cleveland's opening drive and gave the Browns their first touchdown in the first quarter all season. They'd managed a total of nine points in the opening quarter until then.

The good start was followed by another crushing finish.

Game notes


Browns LB Scott Fujita likely broke his right hand in the fourth quarter but expects to keep playing. The Browns also had injuries to DL Emmanuel Stephens (strained chest muscles) and second-string LB Kaluka Maiava (knee). ... McCoy's TD pass to Greg Little made it 17-7 at halftime, more points than the Browns had scored in any of their past five games. Little dropped numerous passes, including one on Cleveland's last possession. ... Green's third 100-yard game tied the club rookie record, shared by Isaac Curtis (1973) and Eddie Brown (1985). ... The Bengals lead the intrastate series 41-36.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
CLE
CIN
1st Downs1718
Passing 1st downs
713
Rushing 1st downs
94
1st downs from penalties
11
3rd down efficiency
6-156-14
4th down efficiency
0-10-1
Total Plays6665
Total Yards274389
Yards per play4.26.0
Total Drives1312
Passing140257
Comp-Att
16-3421-31
Yards per pass
3.97.8
Interceptions thrown
10
Sacks-Yards Lost
2-112-13
Rushing134132
Rushing Attempts
3032
Yards per rush
4.54.1
Red Zone (Made-Att)1-21-4
Penalties3-155-35
Turnovers11
Fumbles lost
01
Interceptions thrown
10
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession28:2631:34

Passing Leaders

CLEC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
McCoy16/341514.4212-11
CINC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Dalton21/312708.7102-13

Rushing Leaders

CLECARYDSAVGTDLG
Hillis19653.4010
McCoy6386.3020
CINCARYDSAVGTDLG
Benson211065.0133
Dalton6233.807

Receiving Leaders

CLERECYDSAVGTDLG
Norwood46917.3136
Little55711.4119
CINRECYDSAVGTDLG
Green311036.7051
Gresham56813.6122

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERCLECIN
cleTD11:01Jordan Norwood 24 Yard Pass From Colt Mccoy (Phil Dawson Kick is Good)
Drive info: 9 plays, 82 yds, 4:05
70
cinTD0:28Cedric Benson 16 Yard Run (Mike Nugent Kick is Good)
Drive info: 3 plays, 47 yds, 1:30
77
SECOND QUARTERCLECIN
cleFG9:25Phil Dawson 32 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 15 plays, 66 yds, 6:01
107
cleTD0:09Greg Little 3 Yard Pass From Colt Mccoy (Phil Dawson Kick is Good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 14 yds, 0:26
177
THIRD QUARTERCLECIN
cinFG8:55Mike Nugent 23 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 12 plays, 70 yds, 6:09
1710
cleFG3:57Phil Dawson 54 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 9 plays, 34 yds, 5:01
2010
cinTD1:29Jermaine Gresham 22 Yard Pass From Andy Dalton (Mike Nugent Kick is Good)
Drive info: 5 plays, 75 yds, 2:28
2017
FOURTH QUARTERCLECIN
cinFG11:01Mike Nugent 40 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 9 plays, 32 yds, 3:55
2020
cinFG0:41Mike Nugent 26 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 7 plays, 47 yds, 1:13
2023

Research Notes

Andy Dalton struggled in his first 3 games against AFC North opponents, completing just 54.4 percent of his passes while throwing 4 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. Dalton faired much better in the Bengals 23-20 win against the Browns on Sunday, completing 67.7 percent of his passes for 270 yards and a touchdown.
  [+]
Cedric Benson rushed for 106 yards and a touchdown in Cincinnati's 23-20 win against the Bengals on Sunday. Benson is averaging 125.7 yards per game and a touchdown over his last 3 games against the Bengals.
  [+]
Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton was 5 of 7 passing for 148 yards and a touchdown on passes of 15 yards or more against the Browns. A.J. Green caught three of those passes for 110 yards.
The Bengals win for the 3rd time when trailing by double digits at halftime. That ties the NFL record for the most wins when trailing by 10+ points at halftime with 4 other teams, including the 2011 Lions.
  [+]
Cedric Benson: 2nd straight game with a Rush TD in the 1st quarter. Prior to Week 11, Benson had gone 21 straight games without a 1st-quarter Rush TD.

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