The Cincinnati Bengals are leaning heavily on their special teams against the Cleveland Browns, blocking consecutive punts and returning one for a touchdown.
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Both blocks came in the second quarter of Sunday’s game, with the second being returned for a 24-yard touchdown by safety Tony Dye, who was recently promoted from the practice squad.
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The play marks the first time the Bengals have returned a blocked punt for a score since 2007. It is the first time the Browns have allowed a punt block touchdown since 1990.
On the possession following the blocked punt, Cincy linebacker Vontaze Burfict scooped and scored on a 13-yard fumble return to cap a 28-point run by the Bengals. Cincinnati struggled early, falling behind 13-0, but has been lifted to a 28-13 lead by its special teams and defense.
The Giants have won four games in a row, and a fifth win would make them only the second team in history to lose its first six and win its next five. It’s not such an impressive feat when you look at the teams the Giants beat in their last four games (Vikings, Eagles, Raiders and Packers). The only one of those teams that wasn’t using a backup quarterback for the majority of the game was the Raiders. That’s right, the Giants’ win streak includes revealing what everyone already knew about Matt Barkley.
It’s an inverse situation in New York. Rookie quarterbacks make mistakes, that’s part of starting young players — but Geno Smith’s inconsistency will ensure the Jets miss the playoffs in 2017. Smith has had moments this season where he looks like an elite quarterback, but also far too many occasions where he misreads coverage and throws interceptions. A defensive team cannot win reliably with a quarterback who throws 16 interceptions in 11 games.