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11/17/2013 6:40 PM EST
Bengals score 31 in 2nd quarter, beat Browns 41-20
CINCINNATI 41, CLEVELAND 20
By JOE KAY
AP Sports Writer
CINCINNATI (AP) -- No overtime this time. The Cincinnati Bengals
brushed aside their intrastate rival and strengthened their hold
on the AFC North with one record-setting quarter.
Essentially, it was over by halftime.
And now the Bengals have a chance to make quick work of the rest
of the division, too.
Andy Dalton threw two touchdown passes and Cincinnati returned a
blocked punt and a fumble for touchdowns during a 31-point
second quarter on Sunday that set a Bengals record and swept
them to a 41-20 victory over the Cleveland Browns.
The Bengals (7-4) fell behind 13-0 in the first quarter before
putting it away with 15 minutes of domination all around.
"That was crazy," defensive tackle Domata Peko said. "I haven't
seen anything like that - so many points in a couple of minutes
and the momentum changing so fast."
Cincinnati heads into its bye week with its division lead intact
and two rough weeks washed away. The Bengals had lost their last
two games in overtime, tying the NFL record and allowing the
Browns (4-6) to draw close.
"Cleveland has done a lot of really good things, put themselves
in position in the division that this was a really big game for
both teams," Dalton said.
The Browns had pegged it as a chance to show they're a
contender. Instead, they got their comeuppance - the most
lopsided game in the intrastate series since Cincinnati's 30-0
win in Cleveland in 2006.
"I'm disappointed we lost and in the way we lost, but we've got
Pittsburgh coming in and the next two are at home," linebacker
D'Qwell Jackson said. "That gives us a chance to get back on
track. I'm glad this one's over."
Dalton had a horrid start that helped Cleveland get a promising
early lead. He threw two passes that were picked off by Joe
Haden, who ran one of them back 29 yards for a touchdown and a
13-0 lead in the first quarter.
When the quarter ended, Cleveland fell apart.
Dalton threw touchdown passes of 25 yards to Jermaine Gresham
and 6 yards to Mohamed Sanu, emerging from his recent funk. He
has thrown eight interceptions in his last three games, a major
factor in the two overtime losses.
The Bengals were just getting started on the highest-scoring
quarter in their history.
Undrafted rookie Jayson DiManche blocked Spencer Lanning's punt
and safety Tony Dye - promoted from the practice squad one day
earlier - returned it 24 yards for a touchdown. Cleveland hadn't
had a punt blocked in 20 years.
"It was surreal," Dye said. "You never expect that to happen in
a game, let alone your first game."
More surreal to come.
One minute and 50 seconds later, linebacker Vontaze Burfict
forced Chris Ogbonnaya to fumble after a catch and ran the ball
back 13 yards for another touchdown. Mike Nugent's 41-yard field
goal capped off the quarter and made it 31-13.
It was one of those comebacks that the Bengals will look back on
as a potential turning point.
"I hope I am looking back from somewhere in New York City,"
coach Marvin Lewis said, referring to the site of the next Super
Bowl. "I think that is the thing that our guys have in their
mind, to win every game that we can.
"This is an urgent month for us coming up. First, we had to take
care of November. We have bigger fish to fry."
The 31 points matched the second-most allowed by the Browns in
one quarter. They hadn't done it since they gave up 31 in the
second quarter at Houston on Dec. 9, 1990. The club record is 35
points allowed in the first quarter of a 35-7 loss at Green Bay
Dalton threw another touchdown pass in the fourth quarter,
giving him three overall. He was 13 of 27 for only 93 yards.
Jason Campbell threw a 74-yard touchdown pass in the third
quarter to Josh Gordon, but had an otherwise disappointing
showing. Campbell hadn't thrown an interception in 90 attempts
this season, but was picked off three times. He set a career
high with 56 pass attempts and completed 27 for 248 yards.
Haden had his first two-interception game while shutting down
A.J. Green. Haden held the 2012 All-Pro receiver to two catches
for 7 yards, ending his club-record streak of five straight
games with at least 100 yards.
Notes: Campbell's 56 attempts were the third-most in franchise
history behind Colt McCoy (61) and Brian Sipe (57). ...
Ogbonnaya had a 43-yard run, his longest of the season. ... LB
James Harrison had his first interception for the Bengals and
his first since 2010 with Pittsburgh. It was his seventh career
interception. ... DB Chris Crocker and RG Kevin Zeitler were
inactive because of injuries. ... The Bengals have blocked three
kicks this season, the first time they've done that since 1991.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org
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