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Recent posts by Mike Wilkening
Two takeaways and a blocked field goal helped the Browns defeat the Bengals in Week Four, and such disruptiveness would go a long way in helping Cleveland sweep the season series against Cincinnati for the first time since 2002.
In the first meeting between the teams, the Browns forced QB Carson Palmer into a pair of fumbles, both recovered by DE Kenyon Coleman. Cleveland converted those takeaways into a pair of Phil Dawson field goals. They also were able to drive into position for a field goal after LB Scott Fujita blocked a Mike Nugent field goal near the end of the first half.
Those three field goals accounted for nine of Cleveland's 23 points in a three-point win vs. the Bengals, who have lost nine in a row since.
The Bengals have committed 28 turnovers this season, with Palmer accounting for 20 of them, with 18 interceptions to go with those two lost fumbles against Cleveland. The Steelers returned a pair of his interceptions for TDs in Week 14. Browns defensive coordinator Rob Ryan can draw up some confusing, creative schemes, and it's time for him to go to the drawing board with an eye on forcing some errant throws.
Of the Browns' 10 losses in a row, seven were by eight points or less, and even in double-digit losses to the Bills, Jets and Steelers, the Bengals showed flashes of the talent that made them a well-regarded team entering this season. The Bengals' offense is potent, and its defense has some playmakers.
However, the Bengals haven't won since September. If the Browns can force Cincinnati into some mistakes early and build a lead, they will have to like their chances at notching their sixth win of the season.