CLEVELAND — Just as easily as the Cleveland Browns lost it, they found their offense.
Bernie Kosar threw four touchdown passes, three in a 28-point second quarter, and the Browns halted a two-game losing streak with a 38-24 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.
"I think the momentum's going to change when you score 28 points," Kosar said. "We didn't really do well on our first drive or two. We were going into the wind in the first quarter and really didn't get moving offensively.
"When we stay on top of our game and stay away from the mental mistakes, it's really hard to stop us."
The Browns (8-5), second in the AFC in points scored entering the game, had scored only one touchdown on offense in their previous seven quarters. They trailed the Bengals after one quarter, 3-0.
Kosar threw scoring passes of 22 and 18 yards to Webster Slaughter and of 2 yards to Kevin Mack and Derek Tennell to give the Browns their third straight easy victory over the Bengals (4-9).
Cleveland has outscored its downstate rival in their last three meetings, 106-27.
"I thought this was a close game," Cincinnati Coach Sam Wyche said. "The score was a little shy of close, I guess, a 14-point difference. It was like any game--if you could turn one or two plays around. . . . "
Mack rushed for 133 yards in 27 carries, including a 22-yard touchdown run off left tackle in the second quarter.
Kosar, who has thrown a touchdown pass in 15 straight games, completed 17 of 26 passes for 241 yards.
"I think the main thing I tried to do out there was not get too greedy, just take what they give you and try to keep the sticks moving," Kosar said.
The Browns all but sealed the victory late in the first half when linebacker Clay Matthews stepped in front of Rodney Holman at the Cleveland four-yard line and intercepted a short Boomer Esiason pass. Matthews returned it 36 yards before lateraling to Carl Hairston, a defensive end who ran another 40 yards to the Cincinnati 20.
Two plays later, Tennell, a rookie from UCLA, caught his second career touchdown pass for a 28-3 Cleveland lead at the half.
The Bengals scored three times in the second half against a loosened Cleveland defense, on a 54-yard touchdown pass play from Esiason to Mike Martin and two 1-yard runs by Larry Kinnebrew.
Esiason completed 22 of 39 passes for 361 yards, but 250 of the yards came in the second half.
Cleveland tight end Ozzie Newsome caught 3 passes in the game, giving him 568 career receptions to move him past Lionel Taylor into ninth place on the NFL's all-time receiving list. Newsome also has caught at least one pass in 125 consecutive games.