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(Sunday, November 29th)
Final Score: Cincinnati 16, Cleveland 7
Cincinnati, OH (Sports Network) - Carson Palmer completed 13-of-24 passes for 110 yards and a score, as the Cincinnati Bengals bounced back from a bad loss last week to defeat the Cleveland Browns, 16-7, in Week 12 action at Paul Brown Stadium.
Larry Johnson carried the ball 22 times for 107 yards while rookie Bernard Scott rushed for 87 yards on 18 carries for the Bengals (8-3), who gave up 10 points in the final minute last Sunday on the way to a 20-17 loss to the Raiders.
J.P. Foschi caught two passes for 11 yards and a TD for Cincinnati, which wrapped up a perfect 6-0 mark in AFC North play this season.
"It's definitely something to be proud of, but it's one small step in a series of goals and steps we need to reach to get to that ultimate final goal. We've worked hard for it, and we're excited about that. We still have five big games coming up and a lot to play for," said Palmer of the perfect division mark.
The Bengals were without starting running back Cedric Benson (hip) for a second straight game, and were also missing linebacker Keith Rivers (calf) for a third consecutive contest.
"We followed the script today; we told the guys on Wednesday morning that we needed them to be diligent and persistent, and we finished out the game that way," said Bengals coach Marvin Lewis. "I thought we did a good job at the line of scrimmage today and on the perimeter. As far as special teams, we did a good job of maintaining and keeping 16 (Joshua Cribbs) corralled. We didn't know what kind of player he could be or how he could control field position. We had a penalty that set us back on the one return and it put our offense behind the 8-ball a little bit, and we had a kick off out of bounds. Overall, we had a good day, but there are some areas that we will have to go back and do some work in."
Brady Quinn connected on 15-of-34 passes for 100 yards for the Browns (1-10), who have lost six in a row since their lone win of the season against the Bills on October 11. Quinn also rushed for a score. Jamal Lewis carried the ball 11 times for 40 yards in defeat.
"I thought that we had a much better second half, compared to the first half. To play a team like Cincinnati who's a very good team -- a physical team, and you're playing on the road, there is a very small margin for error in anything we do," said Browns coach Eric Mangini.
The Bengals got a field goal on their first possession of the game, thanks to converting on 3-of-4 third downs on a drive that lasted almost nine minutes in length. Faced with a 3rd-and-11 at the Cleveland 35, Palmer connected with Chad Ochocinco for exactly 11 yards. An illegal formation penalty set Cincinnati back five yards on first down. They couldn't make up that yardage and had to settle for a 37-yard Shayne Graham field goal with 3:06 left.
Cincinnati scored the first touchdown of the game late in the second frame. Scott got the march going with a 21-yard run on 1st-and-20, and Palmer capped the drive when he found Foschi in the end zone from four yards out for a 10-0 lead with 1:10 to go.
After forcing the Browns to go three-and-out, Cincinnati got the ball back at the Cleveland 40 with 21 ticks remaining due to a 37-yard punt. Graham drilled a 53-yarder as time expired for a 13-0 margin at the half.
The Browns got on the board with their first possession of the third stanza. On 3rd-and-5, Josh Cribbs took a direct snap and threw 18 yards to Quinn. The eight-play, 55-yard drive was capped with Quinn's nine-yard TD run on a QB sneak, cutting the gap to 13-7 with 6:52 left.
Cincinnati responded with an 11-play, 62-yard drive that Graham topped off with a 28-yarder to make it 16-7 with 50 seconds remaining.
Neither team could do much of anything on offense in a scoreless fourth quarter, and the Bengals held on for the victory.
Ochocinco caught three passes for 38 yards...Chansi Stuckey caught four passes for 44 yards for the Browns...The Bengals outgained the Browns, 306-169, including a 210-58 advantage in rushing yards....Cincinnati rookie right tackle Andre Smith was active for the first time this season...Browns defensive lineman Shaun Rogers was carted off the field late in the fourth quarter...The Bengals set a franchise mark with their seventh straight division victory...Cribbs became the first player in NFL history to record more than 1,000 kickoff return yards in each of his first five seasons...The Bengals lead the all-time series with the Browns, 38-35, including a 23-20 overtime win in Cleveland in Week 4...The Browns welcome San Diego to town next Sunday, while the Bengals host the Lions.
11/29 19:48:08 ET