Sports Today: Bengals win over Browns caps crazy holiday weekend 


Well that was kind of a wild weekend. 

We’ll start with the Cincinnati Bengals’ 30-16 win over the Cleveland Browns.

Andy Dalton had another big game against the Browns while the running game finally broke out with Joe Mixon gashing Cleveland for 114 yards on 23 carries. 

He proved again he can be a difference-maker in the NFL with his combination of size, speed and general running ability. 

RELATED: Mixon shows maturity

Dalton can still light up bad teams at least most of the time. 

The Bengals continued to struggle against the run, but the pass rush was a difference-maker. DeShone Kizer had a pretty good day when he had time to throw. I would commit to another season of him if I were the Browns. 

I thought the hit Jabrill Peppers put on Josh Malone qualifies as one that should be legal but is not. 

He seemed less upset than Twitter about the flag. 

I don’t think this was a malicious hit, and while he could have gone in a little differently it would have been very tough based on how much ground he had to cover and the timing of the play.

Not sure if he gets there if he aims lower, and keeping his head up more (if possible) would have resulted in even more clear contact to the neck area. That is not allowed against a “defenseless receiver,” but then again we get a reminder the defenseless player concept is very problematic. 

Bottom line: We should not be forcing defenders to make the choice of delivering the only hit available to him and just letting a guy catch the ball. 

Football is a dangerous game. It’s violent. Everyone who signs up for it knows that. The people making the rules misguidedly think they can convince others otherwise, and I don’t think it’s having the effect they intended even if some egregious and possibly malicious hits have been weeded out… 

The Bengals are in surprisingly decent position for a playoff berth now compared to how things looked about a month ago, but it’s still a pretty long shot all things considered. 

They are a game behind the Bills for the sixth seed with Baltimore (playing tonight) in between. The Bengals get the tiebreaker over Buffalo, but Cincinnati’s schedule is stacked the rest of the way. 

Plus lurking a game behind them are the Texans, who own a tiebreaker against them… 

If you missed it late Sunday night, I shared some thoughts on Ohio State’s sixth consecutive win over Michigan

Confusion over whatever happened to J.T. Barrett early in the game aside, this was another great chapter in the best rivalry in sports. 

Michigan brought its A game — aside from the most important position on the field. 

That’s no excuse for loss No. 15 since we all survived Y2K, though. It’s life in the rivalry

Meanwhile, Wisconsin is up next

The Badgers are good but untested. Their offensive line is back to looking like a Wisconsin offensive line after some down years, and the defense keeps on ticking. 

I’ve been telling people for weeks one of the keys to their being more than a playoff pretender could be Danny Davis. The former Springfield star is arguably the most talented receiver on a roster lacking big-play threats on the perimeter. 

We’ll have lots more on this game as the week goes, of course… 

Lots of basketball happened over the weekend, too. 

It was mostly good as Wright State went 3-0Dayton beat Akron and the Ohio State women won the Play 4 Kay Showcase in Las Vegas. 

The Buckeye men’s team looked headed toward a pretty positive weekend in Portland, Ore., until totally collapsing late in the second half against Butler on Sunday afternoon. 

Coach Chris Holtmann’s new team lost to his old team thanks to a baffling lack of basketball IQ and ball-handling acumen (ok, that part’s not surprising) down the stretch, letting the Bulldogs erase a 15-point deficit. 

If Thad Matta were still the coach — and this had all the hallmarks of a game from the last few years of the Matta era — this would be a good time to write off the season, but I’m willing to see what kind of development this group can show as November turns to December and then January and February. We’ll worry about March when the time comes. 

As for Anthony Grant’s Flyers, a home win over the Zips featured big performances from freshman Jordan Davis and veteran Josh Cunningham. 

That’s got to be encouraging for a team that didn’t have its full roster available. 

“We’re still figuring out with a young team what it takes to have a level of consistency on both sides of the ball,” Flyers coach Anthony Grant said. “The first half I didn’t think the effort and energy that it’s going to take for us to win that we had it consistently enough. We just needed to better job of more discipline and focused effort on the defensive end. They answered that challenge in the second half, which allowed us from an offensive standpoint to get in more of a rhythm.”

Former Trotwood-Madison standout Torrey Patton started for the Zips and scored three points in 18 minutes… 

Speaking of the Rams, they are headed to Canton this weekend to play for a state championship in Division III. 

Trotwood’s game with 13-1 Dresden Tri-Valley will be the last game Saturday night. 

Clinton-Massie, Marion Local and Minster will all play for state titles, too. 


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