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(Sunday, September 16th)
Final Score: Cincinnati 34, Cleveland 27
Cincinnati, OH (Sports Network) - Andy Dalton threw for 318 yards with three touchdowns, as the Cincinnati Bengals held off the Cleveland Browns, 34-27, at Paul Brown Stadium.
A.J. Green caught seven passes for 58 yards and a score, while Brandon Tate and Andrew Hawkins each caught a touchdown pass for the Bengals (1-1), who rebounded from Monday's 44-13 pounding in Baltimore with their seventh win in the last eight meetings with the Browns.
"For us, it's great just coming back and getting that first win," said Dalton. "Especially at home, especially against a division opponent."
Cleveland rookies Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson also bounced back nicely from poor performances in Week 1 against the Philadelphia Eagles, but their efforts were not enough, as the Browns (0-2) never led and fell to 0-2 for the fourth time in the last five seasons.
After throwing four interceptions in his first career start, Weeden stayed turnover-free on Sunday, completing 26-of-37 pass attempts for 322 yards and two scores.
"He's learning some things and I think he made some progress today as a quarterback in the NFL," said Browns coach Pat Shurmur. "But we still didn't do enough to win."
Richardson ran 19 times for 109 yards and a touchdown, and added another score on 23-yard reception.
The Browns got within seven points in the fourth quarter. After Dalton connected with Hawkins for a 50-yard score, Weeden drove the Browns down the field on their following possession. He completed all five of his passes, his last to Greg Little, for a 24-yard touchdown to make it 31-24 Cincinnati.
However, with under eight minutes to play in the game, the Bengals ate up more than half of the remaining clock with an 11-play drive to get them into field goal range for Mike Nugent, who kicked one from 37 yards away to seal it.
The Browns added a 25-yard Phil Dawson field goal on the following drive to again make it a one-score game with 20 seconds left, but their onside kick attempt failed.
Cincinnati struck first after its defense forced the Browns to punt on their first possession. Adam Jones fielded the kick and returned it 81 yards for a score.
After Jones' punt return, Cleveland got three back on its following possession. Weeden completed passes of 19 and 11 yards to Mohamed Massaquoi and Little, respectively. After a holding penalty, the Browns failed to convert on third and long and settled for a Dawson 50-yard field to make it a 7-3 game.
The Bengals countered with a touchdown early in the second quarter. BenJarvus Green-Ellis' 19-yard carry to the Browns' 10-yard line set up Dalton for a 10- yard score to Green, capping an 8-play, 74-yard drive for a 14-3 lead.
Cleveland answered with its first offensive touchdown of the season. Starting from his own 23, Weeden hit Chris Ogbonnaya on third and short for a first down and moved an additional 15 yards up after a personal foul penalty on Leon Hall. Weeden then connected with Alex Smith for a 17-yard completion before Richardson bounced off the right guard for 32-yard rushing score, making it a 14-10 game.
Set up by a 37-yard pass interference penalty on Buster Skrine, Nugent added a 39-yard field goal for the Cincinnati to increase its lead to seven before halftime.
Cincinnati received the ball to start the second half and Dalton threw a 44- yard TD strike to Tate for a 24-10 lead.
Cleveland failed to move the ball on its first two possessions of the second half, but D'Qwell Jackson set the Browns up with good field position at their own 47-yard line after intercepting Dalton. Five plays later, Weeden connected with Richardson, who broke a series of tackles to cross the goal line for a 23-yard score to make it 24-17.
Jones notched his fifth career punt return for a score... Browns cornerback Joe Haden served the first game of his four-game suspension for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances ... Jackson had three of Cleveland's six sacks in addition to his interception ... Ogbonnaya led the Browns in catches with six, while Massaquoi and Little each had five ... Cincinnati will visit Washington next week ... Cleveland will host the Buffalo Bills next Sunday.
09/16 19:28:35 ET