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Burrow, Bengals beat Browns 23-10 for 5th straight win

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CINCINNATI (AP) — Joe Burrow did enough offensively and the Bengals’ defense went from strength to end the Browns’ recent dominance of the Ohio battle.

Burrow shook off a sloppy start to throw two touchdown passes and Cincinnati beat Cleveland 23-10 on Sunday, ending a five-game skid in the rivalry.

“A team win, an ugly team win, but we did it,” Burrow said.

Cincinnati bottled Browns running back Nick Chubb, knocked out Deshaun Watson and stopped the Browns on three fourth plays.

“The defense played amazing and that was really the deciding factor in the game,” Burrow said. “And that kind of shows the kind of team we’re becoming – we’re capable of winning in different ways. You’ve seen that over the last two weeks on the defensive side, the attacking side and the kicking game. We we’re just a full team right now.

The Bengals (9-4) have won five in a row, nine of 11. They tied for the AFC North lead with Baltimore, which beat Pittsburgh 16-14. Burrow earned his first victory in five starts over the Browns (5-8), whose playoff hopes are now virtually non-existent.

Watson was sharper than when he debuted with the team last week and threw his first touchdown pass in 707 days, a 13-yard pass to David Njoku in the third quarter.

But Watson also threw an interception in the fourth quarter and couldn’t join Donovan Peoples-Jones on a fourth-and-a-late 6 that would have made it a one-scored game. He turned the ball over again in the Browns’ last practice when he pitched incomplete to Amari Cooper.

Watson was 26 of 42 for 276 yards, and his touchdown pass was the only time the Browns found the end zone.

“The game is going to keep picking up speed,” Watson said. “Every week is going to get better. Today was another learning lesson. Just keep getting better. Progress always takes a step forward. The biggest ultimate goal is to get the W.”

Burrow was 9 for 21 for 110 yards in the first half, including a 15-yard touchdown to Ja’Marr Chase. In the third quarter, Burrow found Trenton Irwin for an easy 45-yard pass when the Browns bit a chip flicker.

Burrow was largely dependent on Chase after his other top receivers, Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins, left the game with injuries. Chase had 10 receptions for 119 yards in his second game since missing a month with a broken hip.

The Bengals quarterback was 18 for 33 for 239 yards and threw a fourth-quarter interception. Joe Mixon, who missed the last two games with a concussion, rushed for 96 yards, including a 40-yard fumble on a drive that led to a Cincinnati field goal in the opener of the fourth quarter.

“In that first quarter, I wasn’t playing very well, I was running out of shots,” Burrow said. “I settled into that in the second half of the second quarter, and from there we moved the ball really, really well. The racing game has done us good. Ja’Marr was amazing as he always is.

Watson was terrible last week in a win at Houston, his first game since serving an 11-game suspension for allegations of sexual misconduct by two dozen women. His performance was promising at the start on Sunday. He completed passes for 18, 13 and 3 yards on the Browns’ first drive, but he stalled. Then, on the Bengals’ fourth and first 25, backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett came into the game and knocked Peoples-Jones down in the end zone.

The Bengals’ first touchdown was aided by Browns’ mistakes. First, Cleveland was called out for manhandling the punter in order to extend the ride. Two more penalties from Cleveland helped move the Bengals to the Browns 15, and Chase turned in double coverage and grabbed a pass for a touchdown.

Another Browns drive stalled when DJ Reader tipped Watson’s third pass, and Cade York scored a 26-yard field goal.

The Bengals made it 13-3 in the closing seconds of the half when Samaje Perine bounced down the stack and to the right end for a 6-yard score to cap off a protracted drive of staggered hold calls . A sack on third-and-10 was nullified by penalties, and Burrow found Trent Taylor for 34 yards on the next play to move the chains.

YOU CAN NOT DO THAT

The Browns were penalized nine times for 98 yards, among their many problems.

“You have to score more than 10 points, too many penalties and very, very expensive penalties,” coach Kevin Stefanski said.

INJURIES

Browns: LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah said he suffered a leg injury that will require an MRI.

Bengals: Boyd dislocated his right hand finger early in the game and was later ruled out. … Higgins left in the second quarter with a right hamstring injury. … LB Clay Johnston left in the second half to be assessed for a head injury.

NEXT

Browns: Host Baltimore on Saturday.

Bengals: at Tampa Bay next Sunday.

___

AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) runs during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Dec. 11, 2022, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)

Burrow, Bengals beat Browns 23-10 for 5th straight win

Cincinnati Bengals’ Ja’Marr Chase (1) makes a catch against Cleveland Browns’ Denzel Ward (21) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 11, 2022, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)

Burrow, Bengals beat Browns 23-10 for 5th straight win

Trenton Irwin of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrates after a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Dec. 11, 2022, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Jeff Dean)



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