How does Marvin Lewis do it?
"We just keep pumping them full of air and starches and fruits
and stuff," the coach said with a chuckle after the Bengals' 17-10
Cincinnati got sacks by five different players and three
interceptions, including Tory James' sixth of the year. Carson
Palmer and Rudi Johnson led three first-half scoring drives against
the league's top-ranked defense.
Injuries have forced Lewis to give extensive playing time to
rookies Matthias Askew, Robert Geathers, Landon Johnson, Keiwan
Ratliff, Madieu Williams and Caleb Miller -- though Miller missed
Sunday's game with an ankle injury. Still, the Bengals (4-5), who
defeated Dallas 26-3 last week, broke a six-game road losing streak
and have won three of four.
The five rookies combined for 17 tackles, two sacks and three
deflected passes Sunday.
"When we drafted them, we knew they could play football,"
Lewis said. "We didn't know it was going to have to be all right
Palmer completed 24 of 39 passes for 217 yards with two
interceptions and a 1-yard touchdown pass to Tony Stewart. Johnson
added 102 yards on 31 carries and a 1-yard TD run. Shayne Graham
kicked a 41-yard field goal to give Cincinnati a 17-0 halftime
The Redskins (3-6) hit a new low in Gibbs' comeback year, with
the crowd booing from the opening drive. The Hall of Fame coach
eventually had to relent to the fans' chants and end his steadfast
loyalty to Brunell, replacing the struggling veteran with Patrick
Ramsey in the second quarter.
Ramsey started slow but led a late rally with a pair of scoring
drives. It wasn't enough to win, but it was probably enough to give
him his first start of the season next week at Philadelphia.
"I'm pretty reluctant to make a change there. I felt like at
this point it was the smart thing for us to do," Gibbs said. "I
know Mark's disappointed that he hasn't played better than what he
has. I think we need to see if we can get a lift. In all
likelihood, it's probably good to give Patrick a chance now to see
what we can do."
Brunell was benched after going 1-for-8 for 6 yards and an
interception for a quarterback rating of 0.0. He was 1-for-2 for 8
yards in the second half of last week's victory over Detroit,
giving him 14 yards passing over his last 3½ quarters. He entered
the game with the worst completion percentage in the league.
"It was really frustrating," Brunell said. "On a team, you
never want to be the guy to let the other guys down and I feel that
way. ... It's tough. I haven't had to face this before."
Ramsey was making his second appearance of the season, having
thrown three interceptions against the New York Giants after
Brunell left with an injury. He bettered Brunell's output with his
second pass, a 19-yard completion to Laveranues Coles, and finished
18-for-37 for 210 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
Ramsey was 12-for-20 in the fourth quarter, including a 9-yard
scoring pass to Chris Cooley with 2:22 left to pull the Redskins
within a touchdown. The Bengals then covered an onside kick, ran
three plays and punted, leaving the Redskins to mount a futile
drive in the game's final minute.
After the game, Gibbs sounded like a coach who's already
thinking about next year. He spoke of taking "a measure of each
guy as we go down the stretch here."
"I'm not afraid to change anything," Gibbs said. "I'm
committed to finding a way through it, trying to build the
Palmer's first pass was intercepted, and two poor throws fell
incomplete on the next drive. From then on, he was clinical,
completing 14 of 16 passes on the next three drives to give the
Bengals all the points they needed.
The Redskins lost their best defensive lineman, Cornelius
Griffin, to a hip flexor in the first half. LB Khary Campbell had a
knee injury. Both will have MRIs on Monday. ... Bengals CB Reggie
Myles left the game with a chest injury. ... The Bengals, who
entered the game with the league's worst run defense, held Clinton
Portis to 81 yards on 17 carries. The Redskins are 3-0 when Portis
gets 100 and 0-6 when he doesn't. ... The game marked the Bengals'
first trip to Washington since 1991.