Bengals hope to salvage pride in Battle Of Ohio

Published Dec. 16, 2010 3:19 p.m. ET

By Marc Hardin |
Dec. 16, 2010

It was on Oct. 3 in Cleveland when the Bengals were looking to fatten up on the easy part of their schedule with a win against the Browns.

The Bengals, after losing the season opener to New England, were riding a two-game winning streak at the time of their first meeting with Cleveland. Things were going according to their plan to get away with a fast start, and the Bengals had a chance to move to 3-1 with a victory in "Battle Of Ohio I."

They didn't get a victory that day as the Browns stunned Cincinnati, 23-20.

The Bengals still are looking for win No. 3 after the loss to Cleveland put them on an in-season, club-record losing streak that has stretched to an unfathomable 10 straight games. Cincinnati is 2-11 and in last place in the AFC North with the worst record in the conference one year after sweeping the division schedule en route to winning the division title and a playoff berth

Cleveland, with another win against the Bengals on Sunday, can make it a full-circle, record-breaking day for the intra-state rivals. A Browns victory in Sunday's 1 p.m. "Battle of Ohio II" at Paul Brown Stadium would send the Bengals to their 11th consecutive loss, breaking the single-season franchise record set during the first 10 games of 1993 and tying the all-time mark which began with the final game of 1992 and continued the next season

Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer, who hooked up with receiver Terrell Owens for 10 catches and 222 yards in the first meeting Week 4 and is 8-3 as a starter vs. the Browns, said the Bengals' problems did not necessarily start in Cleveland.

"It was a lost game, but we didn't go into the Tampa Bay game (the next week) any less confident," Palmer said. "I think it's easy to go back, but I can go back to the Cleveland game here in '06, and a lot of things changed then. You can always go back, but going backwards is not healthy for anyone. The best thing is to point forward.

"My direction is to push forward. People are in skids, it's a lesson in life. I said from the start that we had a lot of work to do. People didn't understand it. It's been evident. People didn't quite believe me, and unfortunately it has borne out too true.