Browns down Bengals to close 2021 season with a win
The Browns promised they'd play with pride and finish strong in their regular season finale, and they delivered on it Sunday with a division win to close out the year. Cleveland snapped a three-game losing streak by jumping on the Bengals early and playing enough defense down the stretch to end the season on a high note with a 21-16 victory. "The guys fought like crazy, played hard and came away with a win, which is what we set out to do so obviously that feeling in the locker room is what this is about," Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said. "I thought the guys really fought for each other and did a nice job with that." The Browns finish the 2021 season with a record of 8-9, giving them their most wins in back-to-back seasons (19) since 1988-89. The AFC North champion Bengals, who rested a number of key players on both sides of the ball, wrap up their regular season at 10-7 and will host a playoff game next week in Cincinnati. Cleveland has won four straight games over the Bengals and swept Cincinnati in three of the past four seasons. "It is all about having something to play for, and I think there was something to play for and multiple thing to play for today," Stefanski said. "I think the guys understood that. To see them fight for each other and with each other one last time, I think that tells you a lot about our guys." Case Keenum, making his second start of the season, came out hot in the first half and got the Browns on the board near the end of the first quarter with the team's longest touchdown pass since Week 9. He finished 17-of-24 for 176 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.