The Cleveland Browns (0-4) were blown out 31-7 by the Cincinnati Bengals (1-3) in the 88th edition of the Battle of Ohio.
Andy Dalton looked like a top 10 QB in the league throwing for 289 yards and four touchdowns for the Bengals sixth consecutive victory against Cleveland.
Tight end Tyler Kroft filled in for Tyler Eifert in a big way with six catches for 69 yards and two touchdowns.
AJ Green had five catches for 63 yards and a touchdown and Gio Bernard added 67 yards on three catches including a 61 yard screen catch and run for a touchdown.
Cincinnati looks like a completely different team than how they started the season and may be getting things back on track.
The Cleveland Browns however continue to struggle as they’re now 1-19 since the start of last season and now have lost 14 straight against division opponents.
DeShone Kizer continues to have those rookie struggles we’ve seen from other first year quarterbacks in the past. He finished 16-34 for 118 yards and an interception.
That lone interception wasn’t Kizer’s fault as he threw a perfect ball to Kenny Britt that went off his hands and into the hands of Bengals safety Clayton Fejedelem.
That turnover killed a drive in which the Browns drove down the field into scoring range to cut into a then Bengals 7-0 lead. After that, it was all Cincinnati the rest of the game.
The Browns only scoring drive came when the benches emptied for both teams late in the fourth quarter.
Kevin Hogan replaced Kizer at quarterback and led a 12 play, 63 yard drive capped off with a one yard touchdown run by Duke Johnson.
The Cleveland defense got off to a strong start with a strip sack and recovery by Emmanuel Ogbah who had another forced fumble early in the game.
After that there was nothing to even talk about defensively.
Giving up 31 points is a big negative and even if Myles Garrett, Danny Shelton and Jamie Collins are out with injuries, Gregg Williams has to get the rest of the group in the best position to succeed and I don’t know if it’s the scheme or the talent on the field but things need to start improving.
The Browns will play the New York Jets next week who surprisingly won a game before Cleveland which I don’t think anybody would’ve thought at the beginning of the season.
I called this week a must win game and next week is no different, if they don’t beat the Jets then things may start to unravel inside the organization.
It doesn’t help when national writers, regardless of how credible the reports are is reporting that Jimmy Haslam had a conference call with the front office about their commitment to building a winning roster.
The thing people seem to forget is that they’re building for the future and the owner even stated that 2018 is the target year.
Yes, everyone would love to see progress and make people think we’re on the right track but it’s a process and you can look on the field that they aren’t ready to compete with Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Cincinnati just yet.
I believe the quarterback is in place but there’s nothing but an offensive line and some project tight ends to help support him.
The skill positions need upgraded in a major way and it’s obvious there’s some upgrades on the defensive side of the ball that are needed not to mention the first overall pick hasn’t seen the field yet.
If the Browns can’t beat the Jets next week, I wouldn’t be surprised if change comes in some form to the organization.
All I can say to Browns fans is, it’s going to get better…..I just don’t know when.