Browns' comeback efforts fall short in loss to Bengals
CINCINNATI — The Browns lost 23-10 to the Bengals on Sunday at Paycor Stadium, ending their two-game win streak and tightening an already-slim window to the playoffs. In his second start of the season for the Browns, QB Deshaun Watson completed 26 of 42 passes for 276 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Watson threw his first touchdown of his Browns career to TE David Njoku on a 13-yard pass in the third quarter, but he also threw his first interception on the next drive in the fourth quarter when the Browns needed a touchdown to claw back within a possession. Defensively, the Browns did what they could to limit QB Joe Burrow, who completed 18 of 33 passes for 239 yards with two touchdowns and one interception from LB Deion Jones, who snagged a pass from Burrow on the next drive after Watson's interception. The turnover provided the Browns a valuable opportunity to draw within one score late in the game, but they were unable to capitalize with points on the drive despite moving to the Bengals' 6-yard line. Watson threw an incomplete pass on fourth-and-goal for the turnover on downs, and the Browns were unable to threaten again in the final minutes. Their record is now 5-8 with four games left in the regular season. Moment that mattered most: With 5:29 left and down 23-10, the Browns needed to score a touchdown on the drive after Jones' interception. The Browns converted on a fourth-and-four during the drive to keep it alive but faced another fourth-and-goal from the 6. Watson looked for WR Donovan Peoples-Jones for a fade pass, but the ball fell incomplete for a turnover on downs.
Player of the game: Myles Garrett, who sacked Burrow twice and has sacks in all games Burrow has started against the Browns. He also added three tackles for a loss and two pass breakups. Garrett entered Sunday with six sacks in four games against Burrow and continued to dominate, but the effort wasn't enough to keep things close on the scoreboard. Stat of the game: 98. The Browns committed nine penalties for 98 yards, including seven penalties for 83 yards in a shaky and undisciplined first half. The game was decided when: The Browns failed to convert on another fourth down with 3:46 left. They received favorable field position after a short 25-yard punt from the Bengals and started the drive at the 48-yard line, but the offense was off the field again after four plays. What's next?: The Browns return home to FirstEnergy Stadium next week for another important divisional game against the Ravens. Kickoff is on Saturday — not Sunday — and set for 4:30 p.m.