CINCINNATI — No overtime this time. The Cincinnati Bengals brushed aside their intrastate rival and strengthened their hold on the AFC North with one record-setting quarter.
Essentially, it was over by halftime.
And now the Bengals have a chance to make quick work of the rest of the division, too.
Andy Dalton threw two touchdown passes and Cincinnati returned a blocked punt and a fumble for touchdowns during a 31-point second quarter on Sunday that set a Bengals record and swept them to a 41-20 victory over the Cleveland Browns.
The Bengals (7-4) fell behind 13-0 in the first quarter before putting it away with 15 minutes of domination all around.
“That was crazy,” defensive tackle Domata Peko said. “I haven’t seen anything like that — so many points in a couple of minutes and the momentum changing so fast.”
Cincinnati heads into its bye week with its division lead intact and two rough weeks washed away. The Bengals had lost their last two games in overtime, tying the NFL record and allowing the Browns (4-6) to draw close.
“Cleveland has done a lot of really good things, put themselves in position in the division that this was a really big game for both teams,” Dalton said.
The Browns had pegged it as a chance to show they’re a contender. Instead, they got their comeuppance — the most lopsided game in the intrastate series since Cincinnati’s 30-0 win in Cleveland in 2006.
“I’m disappointed we lost and in the way we lost but we’ve got Pittsburgh coming in and the next two are at home,” linebacker D’Qwell Jackson said. “That gives us a chance to get back on track. I’m glad this one’s over.”
Dalton had a horrid start that helped Cleveland get a promising early lead. He threw two passes that were picked off by Joe Haden, who ran one of them back 29 yards for a touchdown and a 13-0 lead in the first quarter.
When the quarter ended, Cleveland fell apart.
Dalton threw touchdown passes of 25 yards to Jermaine Gresham and 6 yards to Mohamed Sanu, emerging from his recent funk. He has thrown eight interceptions in his last three games, a major factor in the two overtime losses.
The Bengals were just getting started on the highest-scoring quarter in their history.
Undrafted rookie Jayson DiManche blocked Spencer Lanning’s punt and safety Tony Dye — promoted from the practice squad one day earlier — returned it 24 yards for a touchdown. Cleveland hadn’t had a punt blocked in 20 years.
“It was surreal,” Dye said. “You never expect that to happen in a game, let alone your first game.”
More surreal to come.
One minute and 50 seconds later, linebacker Vontaze Burfict forced Chris Ogbonnaya to fumble after a catch and ran the ball back 13 yards for another touchdown. Mike Nugent’s 41-yard field goal capped off the quarter and made it 31-13.
It was one of those comebacks that the Bengals will look back on as a potential turning point.
“I hope I am looking back from somewhere in New York City,” coach Marvin Lewis said, referring to the site of the next Super Bowl. “I think that is the thing that our guys have in their mind, to win every game that we can.
“This is an urgent month for us coming up. First, we had to take care of November. We have bigger fish to fry.”
The 31 points matched the second-most allowed by the Browns in one quarter. They hadn’t done it since they gave up 31 in the second quarter at Houston on Dec. 9, 1990. The club record is 35 points allowed in the first quarter of a 35-7 loss at Green Bay in 1967.
Dalton threw another touchdown pass in the fourth quarter, giving him three overall. He was 13-of-27 for only 93 yards.
Jason Campbell threw a 74-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter to Josh Gordon but had an otherwise disappointing showing. Campbell hadn’t thrown an interception in 90 attempts this season but was picked off three times. He set a career high with 56 pass attempts and completed 27 for 248 yards.
Haden had his first 2-interception game while shutting down A.J. Green. Haden held the 2012 All-Pro receiver to two catches for 7 yards, ending his club-record streak of five straight games with at least 100 yards.
Notes: Campbell’s 56 attempts were the third-most in franchise history behind Colt McCoy (61) and Brian Sipe (57). … Ogbonnaya had a 43-yard run, his longest of the season. … LB James Harrison had his first interception for the Bengals and his first since 2010 with Pittsburgh. It was his seventh career interception. … DB Chris Crocker and RG Kevin Zeitler were inactive because of injuries. … The Bengals have blocked three kicks this season, the first time they’ve done that since 1991.
BEARS 23, RAVENS 20, OT
CHICAGO — Robbie Gould kicked a 38-yard field goal to lift the Chicago Bears to a 23-20 victory over Baltimore Sunday in a game delayed about two hours by a torrential downpour.
Justin Tucker tied it for the Ravens with a 21-yard field goal at the end of regulation.
The big delay came after Tucker kicked a 52-yard field goal with 4:51 remaining in the first quarter. Fans were ordered to take cover. Players headed to the locker rooms as heavy rains and winds whipped through Soldier Field. They emerged about two hours later with the sky clearing and the sun coming out but the rain and wind returned in the third quarter, turning the stands into a sea of ponchos.
Gould won it with a 38-yarder on third-and-8 with 8:41 left in OT.
SAINTS 23, 49ERS 20
NEW ORLEANS — Marques Colston capped a record-setting day with a 20-yard reception to get the Saints into field goal range and Garrett Hartley kicked a 31-yarder as time expired, lifting New Orleans over San Francisco.
Hartley, who had missed four field goals in the Saints’ previous three games, made all three of his field goal attempts in the fourth quarter — he earlier hit from 21 and 42 yards. The Saints (8-2) overcame three turnovers, a failed fourth-down conversion and a 20-14 deficit.
Colston finished with five catches for 80 yards to become the Saints’ all-time leader in yards receiving with 7,923, passing Eric Martin’s 2-decade-old mark of 7,854.
Colin Kaepernick completed 17-of-31 passes for only 127 yards and was sacked three times as the Niners (6-4) lost their second straight.
EAGLES 24, REDSKINS 16
PHILADELPHIA— Nick Foles threw for 298 yards and ran for a touchdown, LeSean McCoy had two TDs rushing and Philadelphia snapped a 10-game home losing streak.
A year after finishing 4-12 under Andy Reid, Chip Kelly’s Eagles (6-5) are first in the NFC East. They’re a half-game ahead of idle Dallas (5-5). The defending division champion Redskins fell to 3-7.
The Eagles hadn’t won at the Linc in 413 days since defeating the New York Giants on Sept. 30, 2012.
Down 24-0 in the fourth quarter, the Redskins rallied behind Robert Griffin III’s TD passes of 62 yards to Darrel Young and 41 yards to Aldrick Robinson and both 2-point conversions.
RG3 then drove the Redskins to the Eagles 18 before his pass off his back foot was intercepted by Brandon Boykin.
STEELERS 37, LIONS 27
PITTSBURGH — Ben Roethlisberger passed for 367 yards and four touchdowns, including two in the final 5 minutes as Pittsburgh rallied to beat Detroit.
Antonio Brown caught seven passes for 147 yards and two scores and Pittsburgh’s defense rebounded from a horrific second quarter to shut out Detroit in the second half. The Steelers (4-6) have won two straight and kept the Lions (6-4) winless in Pittsburgh for 58 years and counting.
Matthew Stafford threw for 362 yards with two touchdowns and an interception to become the Lions’ all-time leading passer. Calvin Johnson hauled in six passes for 179 yards and both scores, but Detroit’s two stars disappeared over the final 30 minutes.
Stafford completed just 3-of-16 passes in the second half, with none of the completions going to Johnson.
BILLS 37, JETS 14
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Jairus Byrd had two interceptions in leading a Buffalo defense that forced four turnovers in a victory over the Jets.
Kyle Williams had two sacks and forced a fumble and Da’Norris Searcy returned Geno Smith’s third interception 32 yards for a touchdown. Buffalo (4-7) snapped a 3-game skid and won for only the second time in seven games.
Buffalo’s EJ Manuel won Round 2 of the AFC East showdown of rookie quarterbacks by finishing 20-of-28 for 245 yards passing and two scores.
Smith, a second-round pick out of West Virginia, struggled in blustery conditions, finishing 8-of-23 for 103 yards four turnovers — including a lost fumble — before being yanked in favor of Matt Simms after three quarters.
The Jets (5-5) became the NFL’s first team to alternate wins and losses through the first 10 games of the season.
RAIDERS 28, TEXANS 23
HOUSTON — Rookie Matt McGloin threw three touchdown passes in his first NFL start and Oakland extended Houston’s franchise-record skid to eight games in Texans coach Gary Kubiak’s return from a mini-stroke.
McGloin, an undrafted free agent, was 18-of-32 for 197 yards in place of an injured Terrelle Pryor.
Kubiak wasn’t on the sidelines, instead coaching upstairs from the booth on doctor’s orders two weeks after collapsing at halftime of Houston’s game against Indianapolis.
Houston (2-8) had a chance to take the lead late. But Matt Schaub’s pass to Andre Johnson on fourth down from the 8 was broken up in the end zone to give Oakland (4-6) the win.
CARDINALS 27, JAGUARS 14
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Carson Palmer threw for 419 yards and two scores and did not throw an interception for the first time all year, leading Arizona over Jacksonville.
Michael Floyd had a career-high 193 yards receiving, including a 91-yard touchdown on a catch-and-run. Will Blackmon was beaten on the play and then slipped off the receiver and rolled into cornerback Alan Ball to set Floyd free the rest of the way.
The Cardinals (6-4) won their third straight game.
The Jaguars (1-9) at least scored a touchdown at home for the first time this year. On fourth-and-2 from the 38 on the opening drive, Chad Henne found tight end Danny Noble behind the defense for a 62-yard score. It was Noble’s first NFL reception.
BUCCANEERS 41, FALCONS 28
TAMPA, Fla. — Bobby Rainey rushed for 163 yards and scored three touchdowns to lead Tampa Bay over struggling Atlanta.
A waiver-wire pickup who’s filling in for the injured Doug Martin and Mike James, Rainey scored on first-half runs of 43 and 3 yards. He caught a 4-yard TD pass from Mike Glennon in the third quarter to help the Bucs (2-8) win for the second straight time following an 0-8 start.
The Falcons (2-8) have lost four straight by a combined score of 135-61.
The 5-8, 212-pound Rainey also ran for 45 yards and scored the go-ahead touchdown in a 22-19 victory over Miami the previous week. He’s been with the Bucs for four games after beginning the season as a kick returner and backup running back with the Cleveland Browns.
GIANTS 27, PACKERS 13
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul scored on a spectacular, leaping 24-yard fourth-quarter interception return and the resurgent Giants won their fourth game in a row by beating slumping and injured-riddled Green Bay.
Eli Manning threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Rueben Randle and Brandon Jacobs added a 1-yard run as the Giants (4-6) handed the Packers (5-5) their third straight loss, their longest skid since a 5-game losing streak near the end of 2008.
Two of the three losses have come with quarterback Aaron Rodgers sidelined with a broken collarbone.
While Scott Tolzien played well at times in his first NFL start, the Giants intercepted him three times, setting up 10 points. Pierre-Paul’s pick early in the fourth quarter gave New York a 14-point lead.
SEAHAWKS 41, VIKINGS 20
SEATTLE — Percy Harvin made an impact in his season debut, returning a kickoff 58 yards late in the first half to set up Russell Wilson’s 19-yard touchdown pass to Doug Baldwin, and the Seahawks rolled to their franchise-record 13th straight home win by beating Minnesota.
Harvin made his anticipated Seattle debut after missing the first 10 weeks of the regular season following hip surgery. His kickoff return proved one of the biggest plays as Seahawks improved to 10-1 and stayed on top of the NFC heading into their bye week.
Wilson and Marshawn Lynch wouldn’t let Harvin’s debut take the entire spotlight. Wilson had two touchdown passes, while Lynch had two touchdowns running and one receiving. Wilson completed 13-of-18 for 230 yards and a career-best passer rating of 151.4.
Christian Ponder threw a 38-yard TD to Jarius Wright in the first half for Minnesota (2-8) but threw two poor interceptions in the fourth quarter.
DOLPHINS 20, CHARGERS 16
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Miami held San Diego without a touchdown over the final three quarters and Brent Grimes broke up Philip Rivers’ final pass in the end zone as time expired.
The victory gave the Dolphins something to celebrate amid a harassment scandal that has raised questions about the team’s locker room culture. An NFL special investigator will question players this week about what might have happened between Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito.
Ryan Tannehill threw for 268 yards, including a 39-yard score to Charles Clay, who broke two tackles on the play. Miami managed 104 yards rushing behind a makeshift line.
The Dolphins (5-5) won for only the second time in the past seven games. The Chargers (4-6) lost their third game in a row to further hurt their chances of an AFC wild-card berth.