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(Sunday, October 4th)
Final Score: Cincinnati 23, Cleveland 20 (OT)
Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) - Shayne Graham kicked a 31-yard field goal with four seconds left in overtime, as the Cincinnati Bengals pulled out a 23-20 victory over Cleveland to keep the Browns winless.
It looked as though the Bengals were headed for a tie in a second consecutive season, as they played to a 13-13 finish against Philadelphia last season.
But Cincinnati (3-1) got the ball back with 3 1/2 minutes left in the extra period and marched downfield, as Carson Palmer converted a pair of 3rd-and-10s and ran for a first down on a 4th-and-11. That 15-yard gain put the Bengals at the Cleveland 26-yard-line, and after running two plays to get to the 13, Graham kicked the game-winner to give Cincinnati its third consecutive win.
"[Head coach Marvin Lewis] was saying we were going to punt," Palmer said of the long fourth down. "I just said I think we can get this, I think we've got a shot at going for the win as opposed to going for the tie. That's why Marvin's great, is he listens to people around him. A lot of coaches, once they make up their mind they make up their mind."
Palmer completed 23-of-44 passes for 230 yards and two scores, both to Chad Ochocinco, including a game-tying touchdown with 1:55 left. Overtime was only needed after the Browns' Shaun Rogers blocked the extra-point attempt.
Cincinnati, whose games this season have been decided by an average of 4.5 points, also got a 75-yard fumble return for a score from Robert Geathers.
Derek Anderson threw for 269 yards and a touchdown on 26-of-48 efficiency for Cleveland, which dropped to 0-4 under new head coach Eric Mangini. Rookie wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi had the best game of his young career, as he caught eight passes for 148 yards.
Jerome Harrison, filling in for an injured Jamal Lewis, ran for 121 yards on 29 carries in the loss.
"That was a tough one," Mangini said. "Told the players, [I] couldn't be prouder of how they played and competed through five quarters. Some great individual efforts as well as some great collective efforts."
Billy Cundiff connected on field goals of 26 and 31 yards in the fourth quarter to provide Cleveland with a 20-14 lead with 6:34 to play.
But the Bengals took over and drove for what could have been the game-winning score. Palmer converted a long third down with a 16-yard pass to Chris Henry, while Bernard Scott followed that play with runs of 11 and 16 yards. Palmer then found tight end J.P. Foschi for 27 yards over the middle, putting Cincinnati at the four.
Palmer had a pair of incompletions before a short pass to Brian Leonard put the Bengals in a 4th-and-goal from the two, and the Browns called a timeout with 2:02 left.
Needing a touchdown, Palmer scrambled around in the backfield, buying time and looking for a receiver. He eventually found Ochocinco open, deep in the middle of the end zone, and fired the throw in for the score, making it a 20-20 game.
But on the extra point, Rogers got his hand on the ball to prevent the Bengals from going ahead. Cleveland was forced to punt on its ensuing drive, and neither team had great success in overtime, each punting three times before Cincinnati's decisive drive.
The Bengals threatened on the game's opening drive, but Graham had his 23-yard attempt blocked by Rogers. Following a Browns punt, Cincinnati went on a long scoring drive. The 11-play, 62-yard march consumed nearly the rest of the quarter, and was capped by Ochocinco's spectacular catch.
On first-and-goal from the five, Palmer lofted a pass to the right side of the end zone, where Ochocinco made the one-handed grab for a 7-0 lead.
Joshua Cribbs' 58-yard kickoff return gave the Browns favorable field position -- the Cincinnati 34 -- on the ensuing drive, but shortly into the second quarter, Harrison fumbled on a run to the left side. Geathers recovered the ball and ran it back 75 yards, boosting the Bengals' lead to 14-0.
But Cleveland got on the board late in the half. Cribbs returned a punt 39 yards to the Bengals 38, and Anderson later had a deep pass up the right sideline for Massaquoi that was initially ruled a touchdown.
A booth review ruled Massaquoi down at the one, as replays showed his knee touched the turf before the ball broke the plane of the end zone. However, on the next play, Anderson threaded the ball between receivers to Steve Heiden deep in the end zone. At that point, it was just the second touchdown by the Browns offense this season, and trimmed their deficit to 14-7 at the break.
Cleveland evened the score late in the third quarter on a 10-play, 77-yard drive. Anderson found Massaquoi for gains of 20 and 13 yards, and Harrison's 14-yard run later in the drive got the ball to the six. After that run, Browns receiver Braylon Edwards and Bengals tackle Pat Sims got into a shoving match, but the unsportsmanlike penalties were offsetting.
Cleveland had trouble pushing the ball into the end zone, but on 4th-and-1 went for it. Anderson, after rolling to the right and finding no one open, took it in himself to make the score 14-14 with 1:37 left in the third.
In addition to Lewis, Cleveland kicker Phil Dawson and guard Floyd Womack were inactive...The Bengals lead the all-time series with the Browns, 37-35...Edwards did not have a catch, snapping his streak of 61 consecutive games with at least one...Cedric Benson had 74 yards on 18 carries for the Bengals...Cribbs amassed 223 total return yards.
10/04 21:06:39 ET
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