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Final: Bengals dominate 2nd half to down Browns


CINCINNATI -- For the second straight week, Cleveland's offense came up with nothing in the second half, and the Browns defense could only hang so long with the unbeaten Bengals.

A promising start by second-year quarterback Duke Johnson Jr. and the Browns offense fizzled in the second half, and the Bengals capitalized on the Cleveland defense's mistakes in Thursday's 31-10 loss at Paul Brown Stadium.

The loss dropped Cleveland to 2-7. The Bengals moved to 8-0.

Manziel was sharp throughout the first half, and the Browns running game picked up yards when it needed to as Cleveland kept it close through the game's first 30 minutes. The Bengals pulled away with two quick fourth-quarter touchdowns to make the final result as one-sided as it was.

Manziel finished 15-of-33 for 168 yards and a touchdown. He had 128 of those yards in the first half, as the Browns failed to pick up a second-half first down until there was 3:18 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton rarely missed, completing 21-of-27 for 234 yards and three touchdowns, all of which went to tight end Tyler Eifert. Cincinnati's two-man running attack of Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill powered the Bengals to 154 yards.

The Bengals extended their 14-10 halftime lead to a touchdown on a Mike Nugent field goal midway through a third quarter in which the Browns possessed the ball for just 3:21.

Cleveland saw that advantage double to 24-10 with 13:35 to play when Cincinnati capped an eight-play, 91-yard drive with a 25-yard reverse run by Mohamed Sanu. Dalton connected with Eifert on a 19-yard touchdown pass on the Bengals' next possession to take complete control.

For the second straight week, Cleveland's defense surrendered a quick touchdown on their opponent's first drive of the game. The Bengals converted a third-and-long and fourth-and-short to keep the chains moving before Dalton connected with Eifert on a 9-yard touchdown pass.

The Browns were burned by two costly penalties on the Bengals' second touchdown drive. Randy Starks was flagged for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the first play and was called for offsides on a fourth-down play inside the 10-yard line that would have given the ball back to Cleveland. Instead, the Bengals entered the end zone when Dalton found Eifert for a second time to put Cincinnati ahead, 14-3, midway through the second quarter.

The Browns sliced the deficit at the end of the first half to 14-10 with their longest scoring drive of the season. Buoyed by a productive, Isaiah Crowell-led rushing attack, Manziel made two key throws -- a 26-yarder to Duke Johnson Jr. and a 25-yarder to Gary Barnidge -- before he capped the drive with a 12-yard touchdown pass to Johnson he threw as he ran to his right.

The Browns used 14 plays and more than 7 minutes of clock to get on the scoreboard in the first quarter. Manziel connected with five different receivers on the possession and brought the Browns to the Bengals' 4-yard line before the drive stalled. Travis Coons nailed his 15th field goal in as many tries to make it 7-3.

The Browns travel to Pittsburgh on Nov. 15.

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