Hoyer has gone 16-for-24 with 178 yards and a touchdown and the Browns have ridden a strong defensive performance to head into halftime with a 7-3 lead.
A career backup, Hoyer earned his second consecutive start this week after leading the Browns to their first win last week against the Vikings. He hit tight end Jordan Cameron on a fade route in the corner of the endzone for a two yard touchdown with 2:17 remaining in the first quarter to put his team up 7-0.
Cameron, who scored three times last week, is now tied for the NFL lead in touchdown receptions with five.
The Bengals added a 46-yard Mike Nugent field goal in the second quarter to make it 7-3. They then turned down a field goal attempt just before halftime, electing instead to go for a fourth and one from the Cleveland seven yard line. Halfback BenJarvus Green-Ellis was stuffed for a two yard loss and Cincinnati turned the ball over on downs.
Browns rookie linebacker Barkevious Mingo got to Andy Dalton for a sack and is now the first player since 2004 to record a sack in each of his first three NFL games.
Billy Cundiff missed a 49-yard field goal for the Browns as time expired in the first half, his second miss of the game.