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Rapid Reaction: Cleveland Browns

CLEVELAND -- A few thoughts on the Cleveland Browns' 24-3 win over the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium.

What it means: Beating Pittsburgh was a statement. The next three weeks provided two wins and a stumble. Thursday night in Cincinnati became a strong message that the Browns believe in what they are doing, and in themselves. The message the team sent might not matter a lot to the rest of the league, but the message it sends to themselves will only generate confidence and belief. With a weekend off and the Houston Texans playing in Cleveland the week following, the Browns have a legitimate chance to move to 7-3. And few will count them out.

Stock watch: No stock could fall a whole lot faster than Andy Dalton's, but the Browns as a team saw their stock rise significantly. They got a complete game, with the offense and defense both playing well. The Browns ran the ball, stymied Dalton and A.J. Green">A.J. Green and controlled play for the better part of the night.

[End] zone running: The Browns' front office ignored the running game in 2013 and it showed, as the team had four rushing touchdowns the entire season. When Ben Tate reached the end zone early in the first quarter Thursday night, it was the team’s 10th rushing touchdown -- in just nine games. Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West also would score, marking the first time since 1994 the Browns had three running backs score in a game. The revamping of the offense was never more evident, as the Browns went from a team that ignored the run in 2013 to one that depends on it in 2014.

Perspective: The game included a touching video tribute to Leah Still, the young daughter of Bengals defensive lineman Devon Still, who is fighting a rare pediatric cancer. The Bengals presented a check for more than $1.3 million to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

Game ball: From the moment the defensive line blew up a third-and-short early in the game, the Browns' defensive front controlled the line. Phil Taylor returned from a knee injury sooner than expected and had a big impact. The defensive line had two sacks, two passes knocked down on one series and forced two holding penalties on right tackle Marshall Newhouse. For the way they controlled this game, the defensive front gets this game ball.