Cincinnati Bengals Winners and Losers in 34-24 Loss to Cleveland Browns

Matt Gray@mattkgrayContributor IOctober 14, 2012

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 14:  Defensive back Sheldon Brown #24 of the Cleveland Browns celebrates with defensive back Usama Young #28 and linebacker D'Qwell Jackson #52 after scoring a touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns Stadium on October 14, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

The Cleveland Browns cruised to a 34-24 win over the Bengals on Sunday holding off a late charge from the Cincinnati offense to bag their first win of the 2012 season.

Following a lackluster showing last week against the Miami Dolphins, the Bengals were expected to get back on track against a 0-5 Browns team.

However, after yet another head scratcher of a performance, hopes that last week was an anomaly have been all but shattered.

With the team at its healthiest since the season began, excuses are thin on the ground.

The Bengals schedule doesn't get any easier from here on out, and their hopes of making the playoffs have taken a major blow with losses to the lowly Browns and Dolphins.

Here's your winners and losers from Sunday's action.

LOSER: The Cincinnati Bengals Organization

While Cincy were heavy favorites in this one, you would struggle to find a Bengals fan surprised by the outcome.

From start to finish the Bengals oozed complacency and it's a complacency that has been instilled from the top down.

It seems that when Mike Brown renewed Marvin Lewis' contract preaching the value of continuity, what he actually did was give the big thumbs up to mediocrity. This sentiment has seeped into every facet of the franchise and was painfully apparent on-field on Sunday afternoon.

Post-game Lewis said: "We're not playing nasty. We're almost too nice."

The Bengals were too nice, but they were also too apathetic and far too comfortable.

WINNER: A.J. Green

A.J. Green is fast becoming one of the very best receivers in the NFL.

With 135 yards and two touchdowns, Green once again showed just how much of a valuable weapon he is to the Bengals offense. Without him the outlook would be very bleak.

Green managed to haul in and hang on to seven of Andy Dalton's not-so-pretty passes, and keep the Bengals alive until the fourth quarter.

He was perhaps the only true winner on the Bengals roster on Sunday, and remains the most consistent week-in week-out.

LOSER: Andy Dalton

One year removed from an overwhelmingly positive rookie campaign and Andy Dalton is receiving a swift reality check.

"The Red Rifle" is looking more and more like his predecessor Carson Palmer of late with at least one interception in every 2012 appearance, and his third pick six of the year this weekend.

Jay Gruden's enthusiasm for throwing the ball has brought Dalton 300-yard games, but with it a bevvy of errors and poor decision-making, including three interceptions in Cleveland.

Dalton did have his moments, primarily with Green, but there is only so much the Pro Bowl receiver can do. When Dalton was forced to make plays, he sputtered over and over again.

LOSER: Bengals Running Game

BenJarvus Green-Ellis did little to boost his stock this week mustering only 3.9 YPC. 

The bad news is that Brian Leonard appears to have a rib injury, and will get an X-ray on Monday.

With Bernard Scott already sidelined and Leonard looking like he could miss some time, the Bengals are down to two running backs.

This is going to put more pressure on the air game and judging by Dalton's performance in Cleveland, that is no good thing.

The Bengals may have to consider combing the free-agent market as practice squad member Dan Herron does not provide an attractive solution.


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