Battle of Ohio: Bengals hope to end Browns’ recent dominance in series

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Battle of Ohio history: 2021

The Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns, both coming off disappointing losses on Sunday, will meet for the 96th time at 1 p.m.Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium.

After losing 34-31 to the New York Jets, the Bengals (5-3) trail the Baltimore Ravens by a half game in the AFC North, while the Browns (4-4) fell into last place in the division after a 15-10 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Here are five things to know about the history of the Battle of Ohio:

1. Series history: The Bengals lead the all-time series 51-44, though the Browns swept the Bengals in 2018 and 2020 and have won five of the last six matchups. Cleveland’s 5-1 record against Cincinnati in the last three seasons is its best mark in a three-year stretch in the series since it was 6-0 from 1993-95.

2. Close games: The Browns won the two games last season by a combined eight points: 35-30 on Sept. 17 and 37-34 on Oct. 25.

In the first game, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow attempted 61 passes — still a career high by 14 passes — and completed a career-high 37 of them. He threw for 316 yards passing and three touchdowns.

In the second game, Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield set a franchise record by completing 21 straight passes. He threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Donovan Peoples-Jones with 11 seconds left to win the game.

3. Bengals’ last win: The Bengals last beat the Browns in the final week of the 2019 season: 33-23 on Dec. 29. That turned out to be quarterback Andy Dalton’s last game with the Bengals after nine seasons.

From 2011-19, the Bengals were 12-6 against the Browns and won seven straight games — their longest winning streak in the series — at one point during that stretch.

The 2019 victory kept the Bengals from becoming the first team in franchise history to finish 1-15. They finished 2-14, which matched the 2002 team for the worst mark.

4. Early years: The Battle of Ohio was born in 1970 when the NFL merged with the AFL and the Bengals joined a division that included the Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers and Houston Oilers. The Browns won five of the first six games in the series.

5. Gap years: The Browns won seven straight games in the series, their longest winning streak, before moving to Baltimore after the 1995 season. The Bengals and Browns did not play from 1996-98. When the Browns were reborn in 1999, the Bengals swept the series.

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