Final

49ers 38

(6-8, 0-7 away)

Bengals 41

(8-6, 5-2 home)

1:00 PM ET, December 14, 2003

 

1 2 3 4 T
SF 0 17 0 2138
CIN 7 14 10 1041

Johnson and Johnson lead offensive onslaught

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Receiver Chad Johnson's touchdown celebration went exactly as planned. Everything else was made up on the run.

Allen's Analysis
Eric Allen
Question on the 49ers: So has Garcia made it clear that he is still the long-term QB?
This decision comes down to the style of offense the 49ers decide to play. If they decide to play a style that doesn't rely on a drop-back passer, then Garcia is perfect. His style is suited to an offense that allows him to run around and make plays when a play breaks down. But if the 49ers are looking to go with a more traditional drop-back quarterback, where the QB is expected to lineup and execute the offense placed in front of him, then he might not be the best fit.

Question on the Bengals: Right now, does Palmer even get a shot at starter in training camp?
No, because the Bengals are winning and there's nothing wrong with learning from the sidelines. Palmer is the heir apparent for the QB position, but he's playing behind a guy who's doing a good job. It may be good for Palmer to sit back and learn behind a winner because the Bengals don't need him right now. Coach Marvin Lewis has confidence in QB Jon Kitna and he has the team within sniffing distance of a possible division title.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.

Johnson caught the first of Jon Kitna's two touchdown passes, and Rudi Johnson ran for 174 yards and two more scores Sunday as the Bengals got a win like no other in their history.

The 41-38 victory moved Cincinnati (8-6) back into a first-place tie with Baltimore in the AFC North and left the San Francisco 49ers winless on the road and eliminated from the postseason.

"I knew we would win," Chad Johnson said. "We'll be all right. We put up 41 today."

It almost wasn't enough.

For the first time in their 36-year history, the Bengals gave up 38 points and won. San Francisco (6-8) had 502 yards and 31 first downs, but couldn't overcome its propensity to self-destruct on the road.

The 49ers are 6-1 at home 0-7 on the road, a mystifying trend for a team that historically enjoyed travel.

"We've been looking for that answer all season long," said Jeff Garcia, who completed 26 of 33 for 344 yards and led a fourth-quarter comeback. "Somehow we need to show up on the same page on the same day, the offense and the defense. Giving it up three times put us in a bad situation."

The Bengals took advantage of three costly 49ers fumbles, putting the game in the hands of their same-named players -- one of them a showboat, the other a season-saver.

Chad Johnson mugged for the cameras with a preprinted sign after his 10-yard touchdown catch, a display of one-upmanship that didn't sit well with coach Marvin Lewis.

"He got caught up in everything," Lewis said. "They have a fine player over there in Terrell Owens, and Chad was just trying to answer. Chad's a fine player in his own right. He ought to just be Chad."

All Owens did after his touchdown later in the half was flip some snow at the fans. He wouldn't talk to reporters afterward.

Rudi Johnson scored two touchdowns in the second half as Corey Dillon's famous fill-in. Dillon missed much of the first half of the season with a groin injury, and was limited on Sunday because of the flu.

While the crowd of 64,666 chanted his first name, Johnson broke a 49-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-1, then gave the Bengals their final score on a 3-yard run with 2:18 to go. He also recovered an onside kick that clinched it.

The Bengals ran for 186 yards in the second half, keeping the 49ers at bay.

"We were getting run over," defensive end Chidi Ahanotu said. "We didn't do a good job of adjusting to the changes they made at halftime."

Defense wasn't the 49ers' only problem.

Barlow fumbled twice deep in Bengals territory, and Kevin Hardy returned Garcia's fumble 10 yards for a touchdown that got the Bengals' capacity crowd revved on a frosty afternoon.

The receivers took advantage of the mucky field, which was covered during a 2-inch overnight snowfall that still took a toll. The grounds crew spread a drying compound over several swampy spots.

Kitna made a nice recovery from his last game -- two interceptions, two fumbles in a 31-13 loss at Baltimore that dropped Cincinnati into second place in the AFC North. He went 18-of-25 for 189 yards against a team that has given up 200 points on the road this season.

Kitna rolled right and spotted Chad Johnson in the back corner of the end zone for the Bengals' first score. Johnson immediately popped up and retrieved a preprinted orange sign tucked behind a snow bank.

Johnson, who has repeatedly been fined by the league for uniform violations and touchdown celebrations, held up the sign that read: "Dear NFL: Please don't fine me again."

"All I had to do was just score at that end and I'd be all right," he said. "I was trying to catch the Sharpie thing. I don't know how close the sign was to the Sharpie."

Owens, who was fined last season for pulling a pen out of his sock and autographing a ball after a touchdown, crouched and flipped a little snow up into the stands after his 58-yard score.

"That's what he did?" Chad Johnson said. "Man, that's rude."

Game notes


Owens joined Jerry Rice as 49ers who have scored 300 points. ... Bengals LT Levi Jones played the entire game six days after having torn knee cartilage repaired. ... Dillon and several other Bengals were limited by the flu Sunday. Dillon carried nine times for only 24 yards. ... Rudi Johnson became the first Bengals running back to have three 150-yard games in one season.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Scoring Summary

SECOND QUARTERSFCIN
cinTD13:20Touchdown
Drive info: 1 plays, 0 yds, 0:23
013
cin13:03
Drive info: 1 plays, 0 yds, 0:23
014
sfTD11:40Touchdown
Drive info: 3 plays, 69 yds, 1:56
614
sf11:30
Drive info: 3 plays, 69 yds, 1:56
714
sfTD7:40Touchdown
Drive info: 5 plays, 59 yds, 1:59
1314
sf7:29
Drive info: 5 plays, 59 yds, 1:59
1414
THIRD QUARTERSFCIN
cinTD11:50Rudi Johnson, 49 yd run
Drive info: 7 plays, 76 yds, 3:45
1727
cin11:41
Drive info: 7 plays, 76 yds, 3:45
1728
FOURTH QUARTERSFCIN
cinTD2:23Rudi Johnson, 3 yd run
Drive info: 6 plays, 69 yds, 0:40
3140
SECOND QUARTERSFCIN
cinTD3:35Touchdown
Drive info: 8 plays, 64 yds, 3:53
1420
FOURTH QUARTERSFCIN
sfTD3:55Kevan Barlow, 1 yd run
Drive info: 7 plays, 69 yds, 2:18
3034
cin2:18
Drive info: 6 plays, 69 yds, 0:40
3141
sfTD1:38Kevan Barlow, 3 yd run
Drive info: 7 plays, 54 yds, 0:-06
3741
SECOND QUARTERSFCIN
cin3:26
Drive info: 8 plays, 64 yds, 3:53
1421
FOURTH QUARTERSFCIN
cinFG7:20Shayne Graham 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 10 plays, 58 yds, 5:33
2434
sf3:49
Drive info: 7 plays, 69 yds, 2:18
3134
sf1:13
Drive info: 7 plays, 54 yds, 0:-06
3841
sfTD13:40Jeff Garcia, 6 yd run
Drive info: 9 plays, 67 yds, 12:26
2331
FIRST QUARTERSFCIN
cinTD5:40Touchdown
Drive info: 11 plays, 70 yds, 5:11
06
FOURTH QUARTERSFCIN
sf12:59
Drive info: 9 plays, 67 yds, 12:26
2431
FIRST QUARTERSFCIN
cin5:27
Drive info: 11 plays, 70 yds, 5:11
07
THIRD QUARTERSFCIN
cinFG2:00Shayne Graham 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 13 plays, 79 yds, 7:28
1731
SECOND QUARTERSFCIN
sfFG0:03Todd Peterson 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 10 plays, 74 yds, 2:37
1721