CLEVELAND (AP) — A.J. Green caught Cleveland’s defense napping for his first career catch, a 41-yard touchdown from backup quarterback Bruce Gradkowski, giving the Cincinnati Bengals a stunning 27-17 win Sunday to spoil a sloppy debut by the Browns in coach Pat Shurmur’s debut.
Green was left uncovered by the Browns, who were slow coming out of the huddle. All Gradkowski, on in relief of injured rookie Andy Dalton, had to do was lob the ball to Green. The speedy wideout did the rest, scoring with 4:31 left to shock the Browns and their fans, who watched Cleveland fall to 1-12 in season openers since 1999.
The play was equally surprising for the Bengals, who jumped in celebration at the improbable TD. This was the kind of play that has happened to Cincinnati in recent years.
Colt McCoy threw two TD passes for the Browns, who were disorganized for much of Shurmur’s first game.