Final

Vikings 8

(0-2, 0-1 away)

Bengals 37

(2-0, 1-0 home)

1:00 PM ET, September 18, 2005

 

1 2 3 4 T
MIN 0 0 0 88
CIN 14 13 7 337

Top Performers

Passing: C. Palmer (CIN) - 337 YDS, 3 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: R. Johnson (CIN) - 22 CAR, 90 YDS

Receiving: C. Johnson (CIN) - 7 REC, 139 YDS, 1 TD

Johnson, Bengals tear up Vikes' expensive D early

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Chad Johnson went directly from talking to trashing the Vikings.

It was over when ...
Chad Johnson set the tone on the second play of the game. The Bengals receiver hauled in a 70-yard touchdown pass and the Vikings' defense never recovered.
Game ball goes to ...
Chad Johnson. After letting his mouth run in the pregame, he let his play do the talking once the game clock started. He collected 127 yards on five catches for 1 touchdown and surpassed 100 yards receiving before halftime.
ESPN's take ...
Eric Allen It's amazing to watch the total collapse of the Vikings offense and defense. The Vikings played a very strong secondary today, but they miss Randy Moss a great deal no matter who they play. They aren't running the ball well and the receivers aren't stretching the ball at all. The Bengals' cornerbacks were happy to face the Vikings without Randy because they could play man coverage with all the receivers. The Vikings obviously can't get Moss back so they need to face life without him.
-- Eric Allen

Johnson caught a 70-yard touchdown pass on the game's second play Sunday, and the Cincinnati Bengals had their way during a 37-8 victory over Minnesota that made a statement and raised a question.

Yes, the 2-0 Bengals think they're for real.

"It's right there in front of us," said Johnson, who had seven catches for 139 yards. "This year we can do something special."

And the 0-2 Vikings? Are they really this bad? So far, yes.

"We have a veteran group with a lot of pride, and we're embarrassed with the way we're playing," said Daunte Culpepper, who threw a career-high five interceptions. "I'm determined to fix it. One thing we've got to do is stay together."

And ignore the talk.

Johnson got his mouth going during pregame introductions, talking a little friendly trash to Vikings cornerback Fred Smoot. The receiver had challenged him during the week to show what he's got.

The Bengals had it all over the Vikings, rolling up 337 yards and a 27-0 lead in the first half. Johnson topped 100 yards receiving before halftime, setting the tone for Cincinnati's most lopsided win in three years.

It was so convincing that coach Marvin Lewis warned his players not to get carried away.

"I've already warned our guys: Don't let them make you over-exuberant," Lewis said.

By contrast, Culpepper had a miserable time, throwing those five interceptions -- three to Deltha O'Neal. The Vikings turned the ball over seven times in all and didn't get closer than the Bengals' 49-yard line in the first half.

By that point, Johnson didn't need to say anything else. The numbers said it all.

Carson Palmer completed his first nine passes against a dazed defense. Palmer went 27-of-40 for 337 yards overall with touchdown passes to three different receivers. The one to Johnson set the tone.

He was yapping before the coin toss, sauntering toward the Vikings bench to yell at Smoot. The cornerback yelled back and made a "bring-it-on" arm wave.

Fifty-two seconds into the game, Johnson was in the end zone.

The Vikings were slow getting defensive substitutions onto the field for the second play, and looked confused as the coverage was called. Smoot lined up in the slot against T.J. Houshmandzadeh, leaving Johnson covered along the sideline by Antoine Winfield.

Big mistake.

"It was a breakdown," Smoot said. "You can't start a game off like that. There's no excuse. We've got to stop sugarcoating things. Everybody's got to get better."

Johnson flew past Winfield and took Palmer's long pass in stride over the shoulder for a 70-yard touchdown play that left the Vikings on their heels.

"It opens up the passing game," Palmer said. "When a guy gets open that early, it definitely puts fear into their hearts."

The Vikings sank a lot of money into their defense in the offseason, bringing in Smoot, safety Darren Sharper and lineman Pat Williams. They were helpless in the decisive first half -- the Bengals didn't even have to punt.

Sharper and Winfield were on the bench with injuries while the Bengals closed it out in the fourth quarter.

For the second consecutive game, the Vikings' offense couldn't get out of its own way. Culpepper had three interceptions and two fumbles in an opening 24-13 loss to Tampa Bay, and repeatedly forced passes against the Bengals -- one of O'Neal's interceptions was in the end zone.

The Vikings' offense set numerous franchise records last season with Randy Moss, and hasn't been the same without him, scoring only one touchdown in two games. The Vikings couldn't even take advantage of franchise-record 17 penalties by the Bengals.

When it ended, Johnson sought out Smoot and gave him a warm embrace.

Talking in his ear the whole time, of course.

"It's love, man," Johnson said. "It's the love of playing the game with the same passion as you. We had fun out there."

Well, one of them did.

"Yeah, I'm embarrassed," Smoot said.

Game notes


The Vikings had no immediate assessment of several injured players. WR Nate Burleson (knee), Sharper (knee) and Winfield (foot) left the game. ... It was Palmer's second-best passing day in two seasons and his third 300-yard passing game. ... The last time Cincinnati had seven takeaways was Nov. 6, 1983, at Houston. ... Lewis angrily shoved safety Reggie Myles aside after he got a penalty for a head-butt on a punt coverage. ... First-round pick David Pollack lined up offsides twice, negating two other Vikings fumbles.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
MIN
CIN
1st Downs2126
Passing 1st downs
1316
Rushing 1st downs
49
1st downs from penalties
41
3rd down efficiency
5-98-17
4th down efficiency
0-01-1
Total Plays5379
Total Yards304504
Yards per play5.76.4
Total Drives1012
Passing227337
Comp-Att
21-3727-40
Yards per pass
5.88.4
Interceptions thrown
51
Sacks-Yards Lost
2-90-0
Rushing77167
Rushing Attempts
1439
Yards per rush
5.54.3
Red Zone (Made-Att)0-20-7
Penalties7-4917-115
Turnovers71
Fumbles lost
20
Interceptions thrown
51
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession21:2038:40

Passing Leaders

MINC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Culpepper21/372366.4052-9
CINC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Palmer27/403378.4310-0

Rushing Leaders

MINCARYDSAVGTDLG
Bennett33612.0023
Moore8293.6014
CINCARYDSAVGTDLG
Johnson22904.1011
Perry9475.2021

Receiving Leaders

MINRECYDSAVGTDLG
Taylor77510.7019
Burleson34816.0019
CINRECYDSAVGTDLG
Johnson713919.9170
Houshmandzadeh55511.0119

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERMINCIN
cinTD14:19Chad Johnson, 70 yd pass from Carson Palmer (Shayne Graham kick is good)
Drive info: 2 plays, 72 yds, 0:36
07
cinTD7:25T.J. Houshmandzadeh, 12 yd pass from Carson Palmer (Shayne Graham kick is good)
Drive info: 9 plays, 48 yds, 4:42
014
cinTD4:06Chris Perry, -10 yd pass from Carson Palmer
Drive info: 19 plays, 92 yds, 6:49
014
SECOND QUARTERMINCIN
cin5:07Shayne Graham 32 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 14 plays, 62 yds, 5:30
017
cin3:24Shayne Graham 21 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 4 plays, 4 yds, 1:18
020
cinTD0:17Matt Schobel, 8 yd pass from Carson Palmer (Shayne Graham kick is good)
Drive info: 8 plays, 53 yds, 1:36
027
THIRD QUARTERMINCIN
cinTD2:14T.J. Houshmandzadeh, 16 yd run (Shayne Graham kick is good)
Drive info: 1 plays, 16 yds, 0:00
034
FOURTH QUARTERMINCIN
cin5:43Shayne Graham 23 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 13 plays, 67 yds, 7:23
037
minTD3:22Daunte Culpepper, 5 yd run
Drive info: 8 plays, 68 yds, 2:17
637
min3:17
Drive info: 8 plays, 68 yds, 2:17
837