The first 3 weeks of the season may have seemed like a hostage situation but in week 4 the ear showed up at the drop point and the Bengals' offense woke up. The problem was that besides showing and shaving, the Bengals did very little to show that they had gotten out of the lockerroom and onto the field.
The drop may have been made but the survellance—also known as the defense—failed to cover the pick up.
Peyton Hillis continued his redemption with 27 carries for 107 yards which translated into a 3.8 yards average as the Browns beat the Bengals at their own game and showed that losing close did not mean that they were by any means—losers.
The defense was average at best and could not contain Seneca Wallace, as the Browns' quarterback consistently emerged from the pocket to tell the tale of exploitation as the Bengals' defense looked as immobile as the offensive line while being dismantled by the failure from Seattle.
Carson Palmer responded from being comatose at the wheel to just barely coherent, as Palmer was credited with two fumbles due to poor choices and lack of protection.
At the same time, what made Palmer coherent was his enabling of Terrell Owens to explode for 222 yards, on 10 receptions, including a beautiful 78 yard touchdown pass on the Bengals' fifth possession in the second quarter.
Yet what has defined the Bengals the most so far this season told the difference, as Mike Nungent was encumbered by the same offensive line as Carson Palmer, allowing the Browns to block a field goal attempt, ultimately what would have been the equalizer.
What seemed to be the Bengals' strategy was used by the Browns as the move and grind offense that started the game for the Bengals blew up in smoke as they failed to capitalize and a conservative Marvin Lewis blew the final drive for the Bengals, allowing the Browns enough action on offense to end the game on several kneel downs by Seneca Wallace.
Like what has defined the Marvin Lewis-Bob Bratkowski era, the Bengals went as conservative as to undermine the ability of the Bengals to capitalize when opportunity struck. Penalties were nearly not as prevalent but they happened enough within the fourth quarter to end the Bengals' opportunity to achieve the equalizer and finish a disappointing wake up call that Bengals' nation thought was achieved by the embarrassing blow out of week 1 against New England.