Not only did the Browns enter and leave Week 7 without a win to their credit, they went into their interstate tilt without top cornerback Joe Haden, giving star Bengals wideout A.J. Green free rein to do as he pleased.
That he did.
Green combusted for eight catches and 169 yards. He hauled in a 48-yard Hail Mary at the end of the first half, tipping the ball to himself multiple times while hapless Browns dragged him down, for his third touchdown of the season.
— NFL (@NFL) October 23, 2016
"I beat everybody down there, so I had first dibs on the ball," Green said. "I tapped it to myself a couple of times."
Cincinnati is 3-4 after the 31-17 victory.
The Browns, meanwhile, dropped to 0-7 while turning to their sixth quarterback of the season.
After rookie Cody Kessler was knocked out of the game on a big red zone hit in the second quarter, fellow first-year pro Kevin Hogan made his NFL debut. The rookie out of Stanford struggled through the air, completing 12-of-24 passes for 100 yards and two interceptions, but was impressive running the football, amassing 104 yards on seven rushes, including a 28-yard touchdown run.
"Quarterbacks only have so many hits in them," said Browns head coach Hue Jackson. "It's unfortunate. On we go."