Week 2 Recap: Cincinnati Bengals vs Cleveland Brownsby Sam Schneider September 19, 2020 2 comments
The Cleveland Browns (1-1) withstood a late Cincinnati Bengals (0-2) rally and were rewarded with a 35-30 win in an up-and-down Thursday Night Football game between division and intrastate rivals.
Both teams came into the quick Thursday night turnaround with a bad taste in their mouths after the Bengals fell to the Los Angeles Chargers in a heartbreaker and the Browns were run out of Baltimore in a lopsided defeat. Cleveland took advantage of playing at home and controlled this affair, forcing Cincinnati to play from behind with their rookie quarterback in his second game.
The Browns Gameplan
As expected, the home team repeatedly handed the ball to Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt and mostly aimed at the middle of the line, where the visitors were missing the veteran presence of Geno Atkins as well as his backup, Mike Daniels. It worked like a charm, as the Browns piled up 215 rushing yards. Additionally, Baker Mayfield had a bounce-back game against Cincinnati with a reasonable 219 yards but was extremely efficient (16-23) and found his cohorts in the end zone on two separate occasions.
Burrow’s Busy Night
The Bengals put a lot of trust in their young gunslinger, calling for Joe Burrow to throw the ball a rookie record 61 times. He completed 37 of those passes (also a rookie record) for 316 yards and three lobs to paydirt, displaying progress and further increasing the faith that Cincinnati has in him. The lack of carries by Joe Mixon (just 16 for 46 yards) leaves many fans around the NFL scratching their heads as Cleveland clearly had the better handle on what it is to play in the AFC North.
Despite the overall tone of both defenses and the final score, each team had fourth-down stands at the goal line in pivotal situations that helped to create a Thursday Night Football game which was more exciting than usual.
Cincinnati will travel to Philadelphia after a long rest to play the Eagles for battle in Week 3. The Browns will remain at home and host the Washington Football Team.
It was an early “Battle for Ohio” between the squads and did not disappoint. Both teams came in with a slew of injuries and the defenses should improve throughout the season, but in the AFC North (and particularly this pairing), you can throw the expected scoring out the window. With two first-round picks starting at quarterback, all bets were off. Baker Mayfield’s team got the better of this one. Burrow is still green and finding a rapport with his established receivers, so the outcome might be very different when the two meet again in late October.
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