5 Things to Know from Browns-Bengals

One miserable quarter followed by a record-setting one. The

Bengals pulled off one of those comebacks that they might look back

upon as a turning point in their season.

”I hope I am looking back from somewhere in New York City,”

coach Marvin Lewis said, referring to the site of the next Super

Bowl.

Cincinnati took a giant step toward another playoff appearance

on Sunday, rallying from an early 13-point deficit to a 41-20 win

over the intrastate rival Cleveland Browns. The Bengals (7-4)

scored a club-record 31 points in the second quarter to brush away

the Browns.

And now, they’re in control of the AFC North.

The Browns, Ravens and Steelers are all tied at 4-6. Cleveland

went into the game on Sunday looking to prove it’s worthy of being

touted as a contender. Instead, the Browns got their

comeuppance.

”One thing led to another and the next thing you know, we’re

down big,” cornerback Joe Haden said.

Five things learned from the most lopsided result in the

intrastate series since Cincinnati’s 30-0 win in 2006:

BENGALS ARE IN CONTROL: A loss would have left the AFC North

wide open. Instead, Cincinnati’s win combined with Baltimore’s

23-20 overtime loss in Chicago left the Bengals with a two-game

lead in the loss column heading into the final stretch. The Bengals

have a bye week to rest, then finish with three of their last five

games at Paul Brown Stadium, where they’re 5-0 this season. The

game on Sunday had enormous significance in the division.

”Cleveland has done a lot of really good things, put themselves

in position in the division that this was a really big game for

both teams,” quarterback Andy Dalton said.

CINCINNATI HAS A COMPLETE TEAM: The Bengals scored their 31

points in the second quarter off Dalton’s two touchdown passes, a

blocked punt returned for a touchdown, a fumble returned for a

touchdown and a field goal. Even when the offense struggles –

Dalton threw two interceptions to Haden in the first quarter, one

of which he returned for a touchdown – the rest of the team can

make up for it. The defense came in ranked fourth in the NFL. The

specials teams have blocked three kicks this season, the Bengals’

best such showing since 1991.

BROWNS FALL APART: Cleveland viewed the game as a chance to

prove it has grown beyond also-ran status. Even with an early 13-0

lead, the Browns couldn’t pull it off. Jason Campbell threw his

first interception of the season, followed by two more. The Browns

got a first-and-goal at the 2 but had to settle for a field goal.

The punt team got a kick blocked for the first time in 20 years. In

most ways, it was a nightmare.

”I’m glad this one’s over,” linebacker D’Qwell Jackson

said.

GOOD DALTON, BAD DALTON: A banner in the upper deck at Paul

Brown Stadium said: ”Will The Real Andy Please Stand Up?” The

Bengals had lost their past two games in overtime, with Dalton

throwing six interceptions. He threw two more to Haden in the first

quarter. Dalton rebounded with three touchdown passes and finished

13 of 27 for 93 yards. Fans saw both sides of the third-year

quarterback, who didn’t get flustered after throwing two

interceptions.

”There was so much game left and you can’t get down at that

point,” Dalton said. ”It’s kind of how I’ve been and how I am. I

try not to get too high or too low with whatever’s going on in the

game. We didn’t let it affect us.”

SETTING SOME RECORDS: Cincinnati’s 31-point quarter surpassed

the previous club mark of 28 points in a quarter, according to

STATS LLC. … The 31 points were the second-most allowed by the

Browns in one quarter. They hadn’t done it since they gave up 31 in

the second quarter at Houston on Dec. 9, 1990. The club record is

35 points allowed in the first quarter of a 35-7 loss at Green Bay

in 1967. … Haden had the first two-interception game of his

career and held A.J. Green to two catches for 7 yards, ending the

receiver’s club-record streak of five straight 100-yard games.

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org