The Cleveland Browns are trailing 14-7 to the Cincinnati Bengals at halftime on Sunday afternoon as they look for their first victory of the season. Battling an intrastate rival, the Browns have generally played well so far, but Cincinnati has taken advantage of key plays on defense and special teams to take the lead.
The Bengals were leading 7-0 going into the second quarter after a big pass from Andy Dalton in the first, but Brandon Weeden made a big play of his own on the second quarter's first play by finding Josh Gordon for a 71-yard touchdown strike:
Plays like that one were so common during Weeden's heyday with the Oklahoma State Cowboys last year, but the rookie has often struggled throwing downfield so far this year. That big completion has provided more than half of Weeden's passing yards so far, but the overall numbers look solid: 9-of-14 for 139 yards, one touchdown, one interception.
After that big pass to Gordon, both offenses were pretty quiet for most of the second quarter, but a big punt return by Brandon Tate put Cincinnati inside Cleveland's 30-yard line to begin a drive late in the second quarter. Like with the Bengals' first score, Dalton struck quickly after a Browns mistake, tossing a short touchdown pass to A.J. Green.
As good as Weeden has looked at times on Sunday, Dalton has been the best quarterback on the field. The second-year pro has completed 13-of-18 passes for 163 yards with two touchdowns, including a 55-yard strike to Jermaine Grisham in the first quarter.
The Browns are still very much in striking distance of their first win of 2012, though, particularly if Trent Richardson can get going in the second half. The first-round pick has been quiet on Sunday, rushing 11 times for 31 yards in addition to catching two passes for 17 yards.