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Streak Ends as Bengals Top Browns Behind Benson, Stitser 19-17

The streak is finally over.

The one that started back on September 26th when the Bengals beat the Carolina Panthers, no one would have ever thought Sunday at home vs the Browns would be the next time that the team would get a win. But, that’s how the 2010 season has gone, as Sunday the team finally got their third win, beating the fading fast Browns 19-17.

Cedric Benson rushed for 150 yards and a touchdown, as the Bengals snapped the franchise-long 10-game losing streak. Carson Palmer threw for 209 yards on 14-of-23 completions for Cincinnati, which improves to 3-11 on the year, and gets a little revenge on the Browns, who beat them back on October 3rd by a score of 23-20 in Cleveland.

Clint Stitser kicked four field goals and Andre Caldwell caught four passes for 89 yards in the victory. I talk all the time about the importance of being able to run the football because of the different coverage dynamics we were getting,” Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said. “We were able to stay with it and it was productive today.”

Colt McCoy completed 19-of-25 throws for 243 yards with two touchdowns for the Browns (5-9), who have dropped four of their last six contests. Brian Robiskie and Robert Royal each caught TD passes in defeat.

“What it came down to is we weren’t very good in terms of being able to stop the run throughout the course of the game,” Browns head coach Eric Mangini said. “Then offensively, we got to be able to sustain drives and convert more on third down. Those were the two main things.”

Trailing 19-10 late in the fourth quarter, McCoy hit Robiskie with a 46-yard touchdown to draw Cleveland within two with 2:13 remaining.

However, Cincinnati recovered the ensuing on-side kick and behind Benson and three kneel downs by Palmer, the Bengals were able to run out the clock and hold on for the win.

Cleveland went 75 yards on six plays on its opening drive and grabbed a 7-0 lead when Royal made a diving catch on a 20-yard scoring pass from McCoy.

Benson’s 18-yard touchdown run around left tackle early in the second quarter finished off a 10-play, 91-yard drive that tied things at 7-7. Palmer was a perfect 5-for-5 passing during the set.

Stitser’s 25-yard field goal with 4:19 left in the half capped a lengthy 13- play drive that put Cincinnati ahead 10-7. An array of short passes by Palmer and hard running by Benson got the Bengals down to the Cleveland seven-yard line.

However, on 3rd-and-5, Jermaine Gresham was whistled for offensive pass interference on an incompletion in the end zone. After Cleveland declined the penalty, the hosts had to settle for three. It remained a 10-7 game at the intermission.

Stitser split the uprights from 39 yards away on the Bengals’ first offensive possession of the second half, then after getting the ball back, Cincinnati tacked on another three.

Starting at the Cincinnati 47, eight straight runs from Benson moved the ball to the Cleveland 16, but the drive stalled and Stitser booted a 34-yarder for a 16-3 game with 3:33 left in the third. Phil Dawson answered with a 23-yard chip shot early in the fourth for Cleveland to make it a one-possession game.

The Bengals got the three back on Stitser’s 20-yard make to restore the nine- point lead with 9:58 remaining.

Next week the Bengals play at San Diego against the Chargers.

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