The Cleveland Browns defense limited the Cincinnati Bengals in the first half Sunday, holding the offense to zero points in rainy conditions. Here’s what you need to know:
- The Bengals offense had 97 total yards in the first half. Cincinnati’s offense averaged 360.5 yards per game in 2022, ranked eighth in the NFL.
- Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow went 6-of-14 passing for 36 yards and zero touchdowns. Burrow entered this game as the NFL’s highest-paid player after he and the Bengals agreed to a five-year, $275 million contract extension with $219.01 million guaranteed on Thursday.
- The Bengals went 1-for-8 on third down in the first half, with four three-and-outs. The Browns recorded two first-half sacks.
The Athletic’s instant analysis:
Bengals’ offense needs more work together
The Bengals looked like an offense that didn’t get enough work together in August. The combination of rust and rain shut them out in the first half for the fifth time in Burrow’s career. It wasn’t just pressure and lack of explosiveness in the passing game it was the basics that were most concerning. They had multiple pre-snap penalties, missed assignments in protection and Burrow miscommunicating with receivers on route adjustments.
The only time the offense found life was opening a second-quarter drive running the ball four straight plays. The second half might call for more reliance on the ground game because there has been almost no sign of hope throwing the ball. — Dehner
Evaluating Burrow in the first half
Burrow mostly stayed in the pocket, looking cautious to flush out coming off the calf injury. The 36 yards is a career low in the first half of a game. His previous low was 51 in his NFL debut against the Chargers in 2020. — Dehner
(Photo: Scott Galvin / USA Today)