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An 'upside-down' season for the Browns turns a corner at the bye week

Nick Chubb
Ron Schwane
AP Photo
Browns star running back Nick Chubb rushed for 101 yards on 23 carries with two touchdowns against the Bengals on Monday night.

The Browns turned a corner and saved their season heading into their bye week, routing the Cincinnati Bengals 32-13 on Monday night. The Browns move to 3-5 and snapped a four-game losing streak.

"One of the things in the NFL is you don't want to lose a game before the bye week because that means for two weeks, all people talk about is that last game you played," Ideastream sports commentator Terry Pluto said.

Myles Garrett led a defense that sacked Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow five times and held the Bengals to 229 total yards — 100 in the first half.

"When the Browns put their defense together in the offseason, they wanted this fast defense that could pressure the quarterback. We've seen very little of that. This is the type of defense they pictured way back in the summer, or even going back to last year when they had some nice moments," Pluto said.

The defense clicked and the offense was fierce. Nick Chubb rushed for two touchdowns. Quarterback Jacoby Brissett had a TD run and pass for Cleveland. And Cincinnati’s defense had not allowed a second-half TD all season. The Browns scored two in third quarter.

"This is a totally upside-down game for how things have been going. And maybe that's what the Browns need. They certainly need to turn their season upside-down, being on a four-game losing streak," Pluto said.

The run game also returned. Nick Chubb rushed for 101 yards on 23 carries. Fellow running back Kareem Hunt ran for 42 yards on 11 carries. Hunt also had four catches for 30 yards.

"That double -barrel attack of Chubb and Hunt was back," Pluto said. "And, in a lot of ways, the team in 2020 that was 11-5 with Baker Mayfield, Chubb and Hunt were a big part of the offense. This offense that night looked a lot like that, so I'm hoping they'll continue to look like that. But a big thing will be will the defense play as it did, because the Browns defense coming into that game was ranked 28th out of 32 teams in terms of giving up points and yards. It was really completely embarrassing."

The Browns will return from the bye week with games against Miami, Buffalo and Tampa Bay before quarterback Deshaun Watson returns from his 11-game suspension on Dec. 4.

"When he finally takes the field in Houston in early December, it'll be 23 months since he last played in a real NFL game," Pluto said. "That's a lot to ask. What people don't realize, for all the talk about Watson, is the Browns with Jacoby Brissett are in a top 10 in the NFL in scoring. It's really been an upside down season for the Browns"

Amanda Rabinowitz is the host of “All Things Considered” on Ideastream Public Media.