The Cincinnati Bengals beat the Cleveland Browns 34-27 Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium to pick up their first win of the season. Quarterback Andy Dalton got stronger as the game wore on and ended up with one of the best games of his career. Dalton's performance made up for a disappointing game by the Cincinnati defense which allowed too many yards to the Browns' rookie tandem of Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden,
Let's take a look at the final grades for the Bengals.
After a slow start, Andy Dalton finished with one of the best games of his still young career. He was 24-for-31 for 318 yards and three touchdowns. His three scores went to three different receivers and he showed that he does have the ability to hit the long ball. One of the rising young stars in the game, Dalton bounced back from a rough opener on Monday night.
A.J. Green, Brandon Tate and Andrew Hawkins all caught touchdown passes and Armon Binns also had a nice game. The team needs to get Green more involved but it’s hard to complain when the group played as well as it did.
Other than a tight catch along the sidelines at the end of the game, Jermaine Gresham was largely non-existent. Many felt Gresham was going to have a monster season. He will have to improve dramatically if he is going live up to that hype.
After a slow start the offensive line settled in to play a very good game. They kept pressure off of Andy Dalton and blew open some big holes for the running game. Solid effort.
The unit got plenty of pressure but did not fill the running lanes very well and allowed Trent Richardson to break through some very big holes. Overall, the group did fine, but there is room for improvement.
Easily the Bengals’ most disappointing aspect of the game. Rey Maualuga was blown out of several plays and as a group they had trouble tackling. You knew there would be a drop off after Thomas Howard was lost for the season, but the group did not look good at all.
For the second-straight game the secondary allowed a quarterback to pick them apart. While you are willing at accept Joe Flacco last week, Brandon Weeden was a different matter. The unit simply was out of position most of the game.
What’s not to like? A punt return for a touchdown, two field goals and excellent kicking and coverage that took Josh Cribbs out of the game. The difference in the game.
Jay Gruden made the right calls on offense but Mike Zimmer’s defense broke down time and time again. Plus, you’ve got to love Marvin Lewis’ decision to go for it on fourth down early in the game.