CINCINNATI – Cedric Benson ran the Bengals out of their record-matching slump.
Benson picked up a season-high 150 yards and a touchdown, and Cincinnati ended a 10-game losing streak that matched the longest in franchise history, beating the Cleveland Browns 19-17 on Sunday.
The Bengals (3-11) hadn't won since Sept. 26, a streak longer than even "The T.Ocho Show" featuring their two attention-loving receivers. Terrell Owens was on the sideline with a knee injury for the long-awaited win.
Cincinnati took a straight-ahead approach against the Browns (5-9), who clinched their 10th losing record in 12 years since returning as an expansion team. The Browns got a touchdown pass from rookie Colt McCoy on a trick play and another on a botched Bengals coverage with 2:13 to go.
Only 56,542 fans showed up to see the so-called "Battle of Ohio," the third straight Bengals home game blacked out on local television.
Wasn't all that much to see.
A matchup of two struggling offenses produced more field goals than touchdowns. Clint Stitser made four of them, remaining perfect on seven field goal tries since the Bengals signed him in late November. The rookie was good from 25, 39, 34 and 20 yards.
Befitting their long stretch of futility, the Bengals made it interesting at the end. Receiver Brian Robiskie got free down the sideline on a botched Bengals coverage for a 46-yard touchdown pass with 2:13 to go, cutting it to 19-17.
With only two timeouts left, the Browns went for the onside kick and Cincinnati's Quan Cosby recovered, allowing the Bengals to finish it off.
The Bengals' losing streak began with a 23-20 loss in Cleveland on Oct. 3. It eventually matched Dave Shula's 1993 team for longest losing streak in one Bengals season.
Cincinnati won the AFC North last season with a run-based offense led by Benson. They signed Owens at the start of training camp and opened up the offense, only to watch it get worse despite a strong season by the 37-year-old receiver.
Owens was optimistic before the game, tweeting: "2day we get a Win!" On Cincinnati's opening drive, he ran a long pass route, aggravated a sore left knee that kept him out of practice, and left the game.
From then on, the Bengals put the ball back into Benson's hands.
The running back, who is on the final year of his contract, carried a season-high 31 times during his third 100-yard game of the season. He broke an 18-yard touchdown run in the second quarter for Cincinnati's first points.
Cleveland got creative on the opening drive, catching the Bengals by surprise. Only three linemen took stances in the middle of the field while the others spread out toward the sidelines. Tight end Robert Royal outran the coverage down the sideline for a 20-yard touchdown catch.
McCoy started five games, going 2-3, before a sprained left ankle made him sit out the last three. He finished 19 of 25 for 243 yards without an interception.
Coach Eric Mangini has decided to let the third-round pick start the last three games, all against AFC North teams. How McCoy does could have an impact on whether Mangini stays for a third season as head coach.