Browns 14, Bengals 13


CLEVELAND -- Kicking in pressure situations is just part of the job for Matt Stover.

'If you don't want to kick that football to win the game, you shouldn't be a place-kicker,' Stover said Sunday after drilling a 45- yard field goal with four seconds left to lift the Cleveland Browns to a 14-13 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.


'You've got to go out there and tell yourself that you want this kick.'

The winning kick was Stover's fourth of the game. He might have had five, but a bad snap just before the half cost him a chance at a 36-yard attempt.

The Browns improved to 2-1 with their second straight victory under rookie coach Bill Belichick. The Bengals fell to 0-3 for the first time since 1985.

'I was really proud of the way our team played,' Belichick said. 'We had a lot of chances we didn't take advantage of, and we dug ourselves into a little hole in the fourth quarter. But we hung in there and made the plays we had to.


'We struggled from time to time and it wasn't perfect by a long shot, but I think that's the kind of rivalry we have here with Cincinnati.'

The Browns had lost their last four to Cincinnati in the 'Battle of Ohio' and they trail the rivalry 22-20.

'It was a close game, a thriller,' Cincinnati Coach Sam Wyche said. 'The fans were out there having a good time but we're going to start think about Washington and put the rest behind us.'

The Browns' next game is against the New York Giants, the team Belichick served as a defensive assistant with from 1979-90.

'(The win) makes us 2-1 and I don't think you want to fall too far behind at this point of the season,' Belichick said. 'I don't want to say it wasn't a big game because it was a big game, but we have 13 more to go and we will be judged by where we're at at the end of the season.'

Bernie Kosar drove the Browns 60 yards over the final three minutes to Stover's winning kick. Kosar completed 6 of 9 passes for 49 yards on the drive, including four tosses to Reggie Langhorne for 29 yards.


The big play of the march came when Kevin Mack rushed for 4 yards on fourth-and-one at the Cincinnati 47 with just over a minute left.

The Bengals had gone ahead 13-11 with 10 fourth-quarter points. They converted two fourth-down tries during a 90-yard drive that was capped by a 26-yard touchdown reception from Tim McGee early in the fourth quarter.

James Brooks then carried three times for 32 yards in the next drive, setting up Jim Breech's 36-yard field goal with 8:19 left.

Brooks led all rushers woth 111 yards on 18 carries while Cincinnati quarterback Boomer Esiason completed 15 of 26 passes for 140 yards. Kosar completed 20 of 41 for 197 yards, with Webster Slaughter catching eight for 107 yards.

The Browns entered the game as the only NFL team with no turnovers but lost two fumbles early.

Joe Morris fumbled in the first quarter and Cincinnati recovered at the Cleveland 46. The Bengals moved to the 3 before Breech's 21-yard field goal made it 3-0 midway through the period.

Kosar fumbled on the next series, and rookie linebacker Alfred Williams returned it 24 yards to the Cleveland 24. The Bengals moved to the 9 but Esiason was stopped on a sneak on fourth-and-inches.


'It all came down to the spot,' Wyche said of the fourth-down play. 'There was clearly movement, but you're not going to know until they spot the ball.'

Cleveland scored its first points on a second-quarter safety. After a 51-yard Brian Hansen punt pinned the Bengals at their 2, Cincinnati was called for penalties on three consecutive plays. On third-and-12 from the goal line, rookie James Jones broke through the line to tackle James Brooks in the end zone for a safety.

A bad snap cost the Browns a chance on a 36-yard field goal just before the half, but Stover connected on tries of 42 and 38 yards following Cincinnati fumbles to start the third quarter.

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