Sports Today: What Battle of Ohio blowout means for Bengals, Browns

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Sports Today: What Battle of Ohio blowout means for Bengals, Browns

After another Battle of Ohio beatdown, the Cincinnati Bengals have hopes and the Cleveland Browns have none. 

Finally the 2017 pro football season has arrived in the Buckeye State. 

While the Bengals try to figure out how to catch the Steelers, Browns fans can start putting together their draft boards. 

Everything is how it should be. 

I wrote Friday I was nervous about how certain it seemed the Bengals would win in Cleveland, andI think I predicted on our weekly Facebook Live (check those out on Thursdays) a two-touchdown Cincinnati win. 

The Bengals did some good things. The Browns are worse than I realized. That added up to 31-7

After a rocky beginning, Cincinnati’s offense found some holes in Cleveland’s weird defensive scheme and it was off to the races. 

Despite getting no help from the running game, Andy Dalton picked apart the Browns, posting an outrageous 146 QB rating. 

Seeing seven targets apiece for A.J. Green and Tyler Kroft tells me the quarterback did a good job of looking for his best player and taking what the defense was giving him, which is all you can ask for much of the time. 

It looked like the Browns were determined not to let the Bengals run the ball, so we’ll worry about that aspect of things later. 

Let’s accentuate the positives today. 

Despite having no running game, the Bengals were good on third down (6 for 11), contained everything the Cleveland offense wanted to do until garbage time and got great work from special teams. 

Vontaze Burfict came back and even managed to become a sympathetic figure for a minute thanks to a ridiculous roughing the passer flag thrown on him. 

Maybe next time Marvin Lewis suggests he gets a bad rap, more people will listen… 

As for the Browns, all I can say is, “Wow.” 

I still like the potential of DeShone Kizer. I’m wondering if they are too bad to give him a chance to develop, though. 

I agree with the line of thinking he doesn’t have the confidence to be an NFL quarterback if it gets destroyed by this terrible early experience, but…. what if that is wrong? 

Anyway, it’s not my concern. 

It might not be Hue Jackson’s next year either if you’re buying some of the stuff being written about the team. 

CBS Sports reported Sunday morning there is a rift between the coach, who has actually done good things in the league, and the front office, which is comprised largely of people who have not. 

As believable as this story is given the near-constant state of turmoil the Browns have been in since they were bought by Jimmy Haslam, I generally advise taking this type of report with a grain of salt because you never know who could be fueling it and what sort of agenda they might have. 

Jackson took what was seen as a veiled shot at the front office last week when asked if his team can compete, and Adam Jones voiced similar feelings about a Browns roster that since the draft had been viewed as being on the upswing. 

Jackson was an awesome presence in Cincinnati, so I winced when he went north because I knew that would either mean the Browns would become good or he would fail.

On the bright side, I strongly suspect he has enough credibility built up to find another job quickly — maybe back in the Queen City? 

There’s a long way to go before the final story is written for either Ohio franchise this season. 

It’s nice to have some familiar narratives back in place now, though, isn’t it? 

Meanwhile, about that playoff chase? 

One win doesn’t cure all the Bengals’ ills but, it’s sure better than the alternative. 

They are two games back of the Steelers, who may not be as good as people expected and reportedly have had to deal with some locker room issues after their botched attempt at avoiding controversy during the national anthem last weekend. 

(The same caveat as above applied to this story about the Steelers.)... 

Ohio State moved up to No. 10 in the Associated Press poll, which doesn’t matter but some people care about anyway. 

I thought the 56-0 shellacking of Rutgers was good for the receviers’ confidence, something that could pay off down the line... 

Miami University went to Notre Dame and endured a blowout...

The Reds finished the season with a win over the Cubs, and Joey Votto played for the 162nd time this year. 

We’ll take a closer look at the 2017 baseball season in Cincinnati and look ahead to 2018 this week... 

Finally, the NBA is starting to get cranked up, and the Indiana Pacers are doing something smart to court southwest Ohio fans.  

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