CLEVELAND — Boomer Esiason was a bust most of the night, but he was on target when it counted. And for the first time in more than a year, Ickey Woods got to do his shuffle.
Esiason, who completed seven of 17 passes for 85 yards, failed in a bid to reach 20,000 yards for his career, but he completed touchdown passes to Rodney Holman and Mike Barber as the Cincinnati Bengals beat the Cleveland Browns, 34-13, Monday night.
Woods sealed it with a one-yard touchdown run with 2:32 remaining, then celebrated by doing his signature dance before a crowd of 78,567. He ran five times for seven yards in the game, his first since he injured his knee during the second game of the 1989 season.
The loss put the Browns (2-5) three games behind the first-place Bengals (5-2) in the AFC Central Division.
Cleveland is off to its worst start since 1984, when Sam Rutigliano was fired at midseason--the day after a loss to the Bengals. Coach Bud Carson is 0-3 against Cincinnati.
The Bengals rushed for 233 yards, more than doubling their average of 97. James Brooks, bothered by a sore neck, went 28 yards for a touchdown on his first carry in the second quarter.
Cincinnati's 28th-ranked defense had two interceptions, setting up a pair of short field goals by Jim Breech, and sacked Bernie Kosar four times.
The game was marked by several lengthy delays for replays. In the second quarter, one replay nullified a one-yard touchdown pass by Esiason. In the third quarter, the videotape negated a Cincinnati fumble. Either way, there was no preventing a Browns' loss.