What the hell, Cleveland? We had a deal. WE HAD A DEAL. We got the division this year while you tanked in order to get Teddy Bridgewater in the draft. The two of us would then move forward as the AFC North’s big young guns while the Steelers and Ravens looked on in shock. We had a deal.
But ooooh no. You couldn’t live up to it, could you? We figured that you’d beat Minnesota—the Vikings are awful and you wanted to make a point after trading away your supposed best player. But us?? This was such a betrayal. Andy Dalton just outplayed Aaron Rodgers, he of the best arm and the worst commercials in the NFL. Brian Hoyer outplayed Andy Dalton. Which means that—I think this is how the transitive property works—Brian Hoyer, a man whom when you Google his name, brings up “Ryan Lindley” first under the “people who searched this also searched for,” is better than Aaron Rodgers.
And perhaps worst of all, it wasn’t like there was some freak accident. Some rookie who didn’t get the message didn’t go rogue in the last minute and run a fumble back for a TD. A concussed linebacker didn’t suddenly run the ball in completely the wrong direction. The scoreboard didn’t default without anybody noticing. No. You beat the Bengals up.
You blocked better than the Bengals did, both at the line and downfield. You blanketed receivers and stuffed runners. You created the only interception, the only fumble, heck, the only touchdowns of the day. And sure, the Bengals only had one starting DB, and he’s the guy my girlfriend referred to as “the really, really old one, right? Like, REALLY old?” But your defense made our collection of shiny new toys on offense look like wooden dolls. You even missed a couple of easy field goals—I mean, there’s beating us and then there’s taking the Mickey.
Do you realize the effect this is going to have? The bloody Steelers have lost EVERY SINGLE GAME so far this year and they still aren’t out of the division race. The Ravens just paid Joe Flacco four trillion dollars and he threw five interceptions in a defeat to the Bills. They are still tied atop the division.
Come on, Browns. This wasn’t how it was supposed to be. Get it together. After a thoroughly inept offensive performance, highlighted by Kyle Cook snapping the ball 15 yards past Andy Dalton’s left ear—and which really ended when a field-length Hoyer drive was polished off with a touchdown catch from a running back who has literally never done that before—the Bengals finally succumbed to the Browns.
Browns 17, Bengals 6
Man Of The Match: Kevin Huber. Really. His punting was top notch. And yes, that says everything you need to know.
LVP: Kyle Cook. The snap right past Dalton that “slipped out of his hands,” the other dodgy snaps that Dalton had to juggle for ten minutes before throwing them behind A.J. Green, the whiffing on blocks, the troubles with offensive communication…ouch.
Missing List: If you have any seen any of the following, please hand them in at the Bengals front desk:
-The A.J.Green-Andy Dalton connection, last seen in Chicago, early September
-James Harrison, last seen wearing a Pittsburgh Steelers uniform, 2012;
-The Bengals’ winning record, last seen Saturday
-Healthy members of the secondary, various
Your help is much appreciated.