CLEVELAND, OH — The Bengals fell to the Browns 35-30 on Thursday night. They flashed their potential on offense, but they couldn't slow down Baker Mayfield and the Browns.
The Browns scored three touchdowns on their first four drives. Cleveland finished with 35 points after only putting up six against Baltimore on Sunday.
Mayfield completed 16-of-23 passes for 219 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He got off to a hot start and the Browns running backs finished it off.
Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt combined for 210 rushing yards and three touchdowns. The Bengals finished with just 68 yards rushing.
Joe Burrow continues to show his potential, despite playing behind a below-average offensive line. The first-year quarterback completed 37-of-61 passes for 316 yards and three touchdowns. His 37 completions set a new rookie record.
“I was just trying to take what the defense gave me," Burrow said. "They were playing from ahead so they were in their two-deep shell, and they were doing a good job of not letting anything get over the top. We had to move the ball so I was just trying to take what they gave me.”
Burrow was under pressure for most of the game. He was knocked down nine times.
No Geno, Big Problem
The Bengals defense needs Geno Atkins back in the lineup. The eight-time Pro Bowler missed his second consecutive game with a shoulder injury.
The Browns were able to do whatever they wanted on offense. Mayfield didn't get sacked and didn't have to deal with any pressure, even though starting right tackle Jack Conklin didn't play due to an ankle injury.
If Atkins was active, he could've put pressure on Mayfield and limited the Browns' rushing attack.
“A lot. That is one of our brothers on the sidelines," Reader said when asked about playing without Atkins. "We always miss one of our brothers, especially one of our leaders and a guy who has played a lot of football for us. We miss him a lot. We will be glad when we get him back, but in the meantime, nobody is going to feel sorry for us. We have our games to play, and we have got to get things done.”
The Bengals were also without veteran defensive tackle Mike Daniels, who started in Atkins' place in Sunday's loss to the Chargers.
The Bengals had seven plays from inside the Browns' 10-yard line in the third quarter and had to settle for a field goal. Giovani Bernard appeared to score a touchdown, but he was ruled down a few inches short. Tyler Boyd also dropped what would've been a touchdown.
Boyd made up for it with a nice touchdown catch in the final minute of the game.
Tight end C.J. Uzomah had four receptions for 42 yards, but suffered an Achilles injury after making a catch in the fourth quarter. He didn't return. He'll undergo an MRI on Friday.
First Touchdown Pass
Burrow threw three touchdowns on Thursday night. The first one went to Uzomah, who ran a perfect route for the score.
Burrow wasn't done there. He found Mike Thomas for a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter.
Bullock Bounces Back
Randy Bullock recovered from Sunday's 31-yard miss at the end of regulation against the Chargers. He made 3-of-3 field goal attempts on Thursday night.
The Bengals travel to Philadelphia to play the Eagles on Sunday, Sept. 27. View their entire schedule here.
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