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3 plays that defined the Cleveland Browns' win vs. the Cincinnati Bengals

The Cleveland Browns moved to 5-4 with a 41-16 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Browns entered this past Sunday with their season on the line against the Cincinnati Bengals and found a way to not only win, but put together their most dominant effort of the season. The 41-16 blowout win kept the Browns in the thick of the race for both a playoff spot and the AFC North title.

Here are three of the game-defining plays from the Cleveland win over Cincinnati this Sunday.

Denzel Ward takes it to the house

Things didn’t get off to the best for the Browns after the Bengals converted a third and seven near midfield to keep their opening drive alive. The Browns then forced the Bengals into a fourth and goal, but lined up offsides, giving Cincinnati another chance from the three-yard line. That turned out to be a big moment for the Browns.

The very next play, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow searched for wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase on a pivot route, but Browns defensive back Denzel Ward stepped in front of the pass, intercepted it, and went 99 yards untouched to open up the scoring. It was Ward’s first interception of the season and just the sixth takeaway for the Browns defensively. The play was a sign of things to come as the Browns ended up forcing three turnovers on the day, and limited Chase to arguably his worst day as a pro thanks to both Ward and rookie corner Greg Newsome II.

Baker and DPJ connecting deep

Part of the reason the Browns haven’t been as good as expected offensively wasn’t just because quarterback Baker Mayfield and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. couldn’t figure out how to be on the same page, but also because the offense struggled to create big plays through the air.

At least for Sunday, the Browns didn’t have that issue.

After Cincinnati turned the ball over on downs at the Browns 40-yard-line, head coach Kevin Stefanski dialed up a play action shot from Mayfield to Donovan Peoples-Jones down the middle of the field. Peoples-Jones created separation for a perfectly thrown pass, ending in six points. The Browns had been missing this offensively throughout the season, and this being possible opens up quite a bit for the Browns offensively moving forward.

Vintage Nick Chubb

After the Browns received the ball to open up the second half, Cincinnati’s defense held strong, forcing a punt and created a chance to cut Cleveland’s lead to 24-17. The Browns, in turn, forced a punt from Cincinnati, and then effectively put the nail in the coffin.

On first down, Mayfield threw an incomplete pass, which was then followed by a Cincinnati timeout after some defensive confusion. The very next play, running back Nick Chubb received a handoff from Mayfield, taking the ball through the left side of the line. Former Browns defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi had a chance to make the tackle in the backfield but missed. Chubb then forced another missed tackle at the second level and was off to the races. Chubb’s touchdown scamper was the third touchdown of the day for the Browns of 60 yards or more.

These three plays for the Browns not only helped pave the way toward a victory, but also gave reasons to be optimistic about the remainder of the season.

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