CINCINNATI (AP) - For Larry Johnson, it felt like the good old days.
Less than two weeks after he signed with Cincinnati as the equivalent of a half-season insurance policy, the running back found himself leading the charge - just as he did in his glory years with Kansas City. He ran for 107 yards on Sunday during a 16-7 win over the Cleveland Browns, who got run over all day long.
"It just takes me back to the old days of a couple years ago," said Johnson, who was released by the Chiefs as he was set to return from a suspension. "I've always admired the AFC North because they run the football. In my (former) division, you had to throw it 100 times before you ran it."
The Bengals (8-3) ran the table in Johnson's new division by hardly throwing the ball. They came out determined to take advantage of a defense that is one of the league's worst at stopping the run, and didn't deviate from the plan when injuries got in the way.
Cedric Benson missed his second straight game because of a sprained hip. When rookie backup Bernard Scott was hobbled briefly by a minor knee injury, Johnson got to show his new team what he's got left. Plenty, it turns out.
The Browns (1-10) gave up 210 yards on the ground, the third time this season that Cleveland has allowed a team to run for more than 200. Scott pitched in 87 yards, and Carson Palmer even had 15. Brian Leonard added the final yard to the total.
"We have to do a better job understanding how teams are attacking us," linebacker David Bowens said. "Cincinnati came out running the ball. That's what Cincinnati wanted to do, and it did that."
Cincinnati finished a sweep of the division - 6-0 for the first time in franchise history - and kept its hold on first place by showing it has become adept at running the ball and playing defense, the two areas of emphasis in all of its offseason moves. While the Bengals ran wild, the Browns managed only 169 total yards, the fewest by any of Cincinnati's opponents in the past 26 years.
"I know I've said this many times, but if we can run the football and play good defense, I can drive into the stadium pretty confident most days, and that's a good feeling," coach Marvin Lewis said. "It makes it special when you can do those things, and we are at that point."
The Browns keep making the same mistakes and getting the same result. They've got double-digit losses for the eighth time in their 11 years as an expansion team. The offense has been historically bad, scoring seven or fewer points for the seventh time this season. Their only score came off a couple of trick plays.
Joshua Cribbs ran in front of Brady Quinn to take a snap, then turned and threw to the quarterback for an 18-yard completion on Cleveland's opening drive of the second half. Quinn scored on a 9-yard draw play, his first rushing touchdown in the NFL.
"I caught one my senior year in high school in our homecoming game," Quinn said. "That definitely allowed us to stay in the game. At that point, we felt extremely confident."
The rest of the day, the offense went nowhere. Quinn was 15 of 34 for 100 yards, overthrowing or throwing behind receivers, who didn't help much by repeatedly dropping the ball when Quinn got it to them.
"We had some opportunities in the passing game," coach Eric Mangini said. "We had dropped balls and missed throws, and it's those types of things that hurt you on a weekly basis."
So do the last-second penalties on defense. Shaun Rogers made a horse-collar tackle on Palmer as time ran out in the first half, a personal foul that resulted in another play. Shayne Graham kicked a 53-yard field goal, matching his career best, for a 13-0 lead. A week earlier, a pass interference penalty in the end zone as time expired gave Detroit another play and a chance to score for a 38-37 win.
With the Browns playing like the Browns, all that Cincinnati had to do was avoid playing down to their level.
"They weren't going to let us throw the ball over their heads," said Palmer, who was 13 of 24 for 110 yards. "They let us run the ball for 200 yards. We stuck with the game plan and kept pushing the ball."
NOTES: Rogers hurt his left ankle in the closing minutes and was taken off on a cart. He was scheduled for tests. ... S Brodney Pool suffered an apparent concussion. ... Cribbs' passer rating was 118.8. Quinn's rating was 51.3. ... Bengals first-round pick OL Andre Smith was active for the first time and got into the game on a few running plays. ... Palmer didn't miss a play after the horse-collar tackle, returning for the opening drive of the second half. ... Cincinnati has won nine of 11 in the in-state series, the longest stretch of domination in its history.