Browns dominate Bengals 24-3
Browns tight end Gary Barnidge makes a catch while being defended by Bengals free safety Reggie Nelson (20) during the third quarter at Paul Brown Stadium. (Andrew Weber, USA Today Sports)

CINCINNATI -- Terrance West rushed for 94 yards and a touchdown, and a swarming Browns defense allowed just 165 total yards, as Cleveland rolled to a 24-3 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night at Paul Brown Stadium.

Cleveland (6-3) moved into a first-place tie in the AFC North with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who play at the New York Jets on Sunday.


It was the first regular-season loss at home for Cincinnati (5-3-1) since 2012. And, the largest margin of victory in the series since 1987.

Cincinnati, which began the season 3-0, fell apart in prime-time on Thursday night, highlighted by the worst performance of the season for quarterback Andy Dalton, who went 10-of-33 for 86 yards and three interceptions.

Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer, meanwhile, improved to 9-3 as a starting QB, with an efficient outing, going 15-of-23 for 198 yards. Cleveland rushed for 170 yards.

Cleveland led 17-3 at halftime, but put the score out of reach with a 10-play, 63-yard drive capped by a 1-yard touchdown by West, giving them a three-touchdown lead.

That was more than enough cushion for Cleveland's defense, which has allowed the second-fewest second-half points in the NFL. The Browns blanked the Bengals after halftime.

The Browns defense produced the game's first big play when linebacker Craig Robertson intercepted a Dalton pass and returned it 15 yards to the Bengals' 18.

That led to a 4-yard touchdown run by running back Ben Tate, putting Cleveland ahead 7-0.

Dalton was 5-for-16 for 38 yards and an interception in the first half.

It was a mistake-ridden first half for both teams, which combined for eight penalties for 83 yards and three turnovers.

Cleveland increased its lead early in the second quarter when running back Isaiah Crowell scored on a 2-yard run, making the score 14-3.

NOTES: Leah Still, the four-year-old daughter of Bengals DT Devon Still, who has made national headlines for her heroic battle with cancer, watched her father play in person for the first time on Thursday night. The Bengals have raised $1.3 million for the treatment of pediatric cancer from proceeds derived from the sale of Still's No. 75 jersey. ... Bengals RB Giovani Bernard missed his second straight game with a hip pointer and clavicle injury. ... Bengals RT Andre Smith was inactive with a sprained left ankle. Marshall Newhouse started in Smith's place. ... Browns WR Andrew Hawkins, who was listed as questionable with a leg injury, was inactive Thursday. Taylor Gabriel started in his place. ... The last time the Bengals and Browns played with both teams over .500 this late in the season was 1986.