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Browns top Bengals for 1st win
Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) - Brandon Weeden threw for 231 yards and two touchdowns and the Cleveland defense found the end zone once, leading the Browns to their first win of the season Sunday in a 34-24 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.
Montario Hardesty had 56 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries, and Josh Gordon caught three balls for 99 yards and a score for Cleveland (1-5).
"It was a good win, and to see the fans, that made me feel really good, seeing the fans happy and having that first win at home in front of our home crowd," said Browns safety T.J. Ward, who had three tackles on the day. "It looked like a packed house, like it was a full stadium today, and it was just a good feeling."
Benjamin Watson had one touchdown catch, and Trent Richardson -- who entered the day tied for second in the league with four touchdowns -- carried 14 times for 37 yards before exiting with an injury.
The Browns' defense had a huge day, with Sheldon Brown returning an interception for a touchdown and Billy Winn recovering a fumble that he took back 35 yards with Cincinnati threatening late.
Cincinnati's Andy Dalton was 31-of-46 passing for 381 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions, and A.J. Green made seven grabs for 135 yards and two touchdowns.
Tight end Jermaine Gresham caught three balls for 68 yards and a touchdown and BenJarvus Green-Ellis carried 16 times for 62 yards for the Bengals (3-3) in defeat.
"We did a lot of very good things, but when you turn the ball over, you're gonna lose," Cincinnati head coach Marvin Lewis said. "And today, we turned the ball over. We did a little better job and got some plays defensively...but we have to win the battle on third down because that's the key to football."
After the Bengals went three-and-out to start the game, Cleveland gave the ball right back when Weeden was picked off deep in Cincinnati territory.
The Bengals used the change in momentum to get on the board, with Dalton linking up with Gresham on a 3rd-and-2 pass over the middle. The big tight end ran through the Browns' secondary on his way to a 55-yard touchdown reception.
Cleveland and Cincinnati traded punts near the end of the first, giving Weeden an opportunity to make up for his costly mistake early in the second quarter.
On a 3rd-and-8 from the Browns' 29, Weeden took the snap out of the shotgun, looked left and found a streaking Gordon, whom he hit in stride for a 71-yard TD strike to tie the game at 7-7. The play marked the Browns' longest play from scrimmage this year.
Both teams failed to move the ball past midfield on each of their next two possessions, with only Cincinnati getting to their own 48-yard line with 6:33 left in the half.
Late in the second, though, Cleveland was forced to punt from its own 18, with the Bengals' Brandon Tate returning the ball 32 yards back into Cleveland territory.
An additional 5-yard penalty set Cincinnati up at the 27-yard line, and the Bengals used the favorable field position to retake the lead.
Following two Green-Ellis runs for 23 yards, Dalton hit Green in the back of the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown strike, allowing Cincinnati to roll into the half up 14-7.
Cleveland got three points back early in the third, mainly due to special teams play, as Josh Cribbs fielded a punt at the Bengals' 10 and returned it 60 yards back to the Cincinnati 30-yard line. On 4th-and-3, Phil Dawson hit a 41-yard field goal to cut the Bengals' lead to 14-10.
Dalton's interception on the Bengals' next possession gave Cleveland the ball back just a minute later, setting up a 38-yard field goal from Dawson with 6:27 left to make it a one-point game.
Cleveland forced the Bengals to go three-and-out, and took a 20-14 lead early in the fourth quarter. Starting from Cleveland's own 34, Weeden led the Browns on a 10-play, 66-yard scoring drive, capped by a 1-yard TD run by Hardesty on the first play of the fourth.
After Dawson's kickoff went out of bounds giving Cincinnati the ball at its own 40-yard line, the Bengals came back with three points of their own when Mike Nugent hit a 44-yard field goal to end an eight-play scoring drive to make it a 20-17 game.
But Cleveland answered on both sides of the ball to put the game out of reach.
Cribbs began by returning the kickoff back to the 37 yard line, and the Browns offense put together another scoring drive, with Weeden hitting Watson for a 3-yard TD pass six plays later.
Sheldon Brown then picked off Dalton on the first play of Cincinnati's ensuing possession and returned it 19 yards for a score, increasing Cleveland's lead to 34-17.
The Bengals cut the lead to 34-24 with 5:21 remaining, when Dalton orchestrated a no- huddle scoring drive and linked up with Green for a 57-yard TD.
And although Cincinnati was threatening to score after forcing the Browns to punt, any chance of a comeback came to an end when Winn recovered a Dalton fumble at the Cleveland 23-yard line and advanced the ball 35 yards back into Cincinnati territory, and Usama Young picked off Dalton with under two minutes to play.
Richardson suffered a flank injury in the third quarter and his return was listed as questionable by Cleveland ...The Bengals had 438 yards of total offense compared to 328 for the Browns.
10/15 02:05:26 ET