CLEVELAND - Three teams are in a logjam for first place in the AFC North, and for the first time in a long time, the Cleveland Browns are part of it.
Brian Hoyer engineered two long scoring drives that started inside the 10-yard-line Sunday in a convincing 17-6 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in FirstEnergy Stadium.
The Browns and Bengals are 2-2, and so are the Ravens after they lost at Buffalo.
It was Hoyer's second start after taking over for injured Brandon Weeden. Hoyer threw three touchdown passes last week when the Browns beat the Vikings in Minnesota, 31-27.
"It was a hard-fought game and a real team win for us," Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said. "I'm proud of our guys and how they battled and continue to battle. It showed today."
The Bengals made too many mistakes in the second half against the Browns potent defense. A botched snap with the Browns leading 10-6 in the third quarter turned a first-and-10 into a-second and-25. The Bengals did not respond and were forced to punt.
"When we had our chances, we didn't take advantage of them," Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton said.
The Bengals still had a chance after a 1-yard touchdown pass from Hoyer to Chris Ogbonnaya made the score 17-6 with 4:54 left, but a pass from Dalton intended for tight end Tyler Eifert was intercepted by Buster Skrine.
The Browns opened the scoring in the first quarter with a 95-yard drive highlighted by quick passes from Hoyer.
Hoyer threw the ball to tight end Jordan Cameron on the left side of the end zone for a 2-yard touchdown pass. Cameron out-jumped Adam Jones for the ball.
"Brian is very confident and the team feeds off that," Cameron said.
Billy Cundiff kicked a 51-yard field goal with 5:10 left in the third quarter for a 10-3 Browns lead.
"They made a lot of plays early in the ball game, critical plays when he could have got them off the field," Bengals safety Chris Crocker said.
The Bengals scored their only first-half points on a 25-yard field goal by Mike Nugent. Nugent cut the deficit to 10-6 on a 43-yard field goal with 37 seconds left in the third quarter.
NOTES: Browns left tackle Joe Thomas played in his 100th consecutive game Sunday. He has been on the field for every offensive snap since the Browns drafted him third overall in 2007. ... Rookie Barkevious Mingo got his first start at right outside linebacker. Normal starter Jabaal Sheard was out with a knee injury. ... Bengals starting right CB Leon Hall was inactive with a hamstring injury. Adam Jones replaced him in the starting lineup. ... Bengals starting safety Reggie Nelson was inactive with a hamstring injury. Taylor Mays replaced him.