Browns tame Bengals, snap 11-game losing streak
Cleveland, OH, United States (4E Sports) – Rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden threw two touchdown passes as the Cleveland Browns snapped an 11-game losing streak dating back to last season with a 34-24 taming of the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday at Browns Stadium.
Weeden got his first career win on his 29th birthday, completing 17 of 29 passes for 231 yards with just one interception as the Browns (1-5) won for the first time since November last year. The Bengals slipped to 3-3.
Aside from ending their slump, the Browns also beat the Bengals for the first time in five games and won their first AFC North game in 12 tries since defeating Cincinnati on Oct. 3, 2010.
The quarterback also got huge lift from the Browns’ receiving corps, with fellow rookie Josh Gordon and veteran tight end Benjamin Watson catching his touchdown passes from 71 and three yards, respectively.
Running back Montario Hardesty rushed for 56 yards on 15 carries in place of injured starter Trent Richardson, who was sidelined by an abdominal injury shortly after halftime. Richardson managed just 37 yards on 14 carries before he was pulled out of the game.
Cornerback Joe Haden’s return from a four-game suspension for violation of NFL substance policy gave the Browns defensive unit a big boost as he compiled seven tackles, an interception and broke up three passes.
The Bengals, behind quarterback Andy Dalton’s outstanding play, took a 14-7 lead at halftime but the Browns poured it on in the second half with Weeden at the forefront.
The Browns trimmed the gap to just 14-13 behind two field goals by Phil Dawson from 41 and 38 yards in the third period before Hardesty opened the fourth with a one-yard touchdown run to grab the lead.
Bengals kicker Mike Nugent responded with a 44-yard field goal but Weeden capped a six-play, 63-yard drive with a three-yard passing score to Watson for a 27-17 lead.
Sheldon Brown then intercepted Dalton’s heave and returned it 19 yards for a touchdown, giving the Browns a 34-17 lead with just under eight minutes remaining.
Dalton finished 31 for 46 for 381 yards and three touchdowns but he also threw three costly interceptions, including one to Browns’ safety Usama Young with six seconds remaining.