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Johnson in midseason form as Bengals beat up Bills

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) -- Chad Johnson got his first touchdown
this preseason. The Bengals receiver's bid to celebrate, though,
was denied.

It didn't matter much, because there was enough high-scoring
entertainment in Cincinnati's mean-nothing 44-31 win over the
Buffalo Bills on Friday night.

Johnson and the defense led the way, helping Cincinnati produce
the third-most points in a preseason game in team history -- and
most since a 45-0 win over Tampa Bay in 1977.

The always-colorful receiver, hard to miss sporting a new golden
mohawk he debuted last weekend, had five catches for 73 yards and a
9-yard touchdown reception.

The only thing missing was a TD celebration after he caught
Anthony Wright's pass in the left corner for the Bengals' go-ahead
score 8 minutes into the second quarter. Johnson's request to put
on a show was turned down by an official because of the NFL's new
rules limiting celebrations.

"I asked the ref if I could celebrate," said Johnson, who
pleaded with the official immediately after the catch. "I offered
to pay his fine. He said, 'No.'"

At least Johnson made a contribution after being held without a
catch in a 19-3 win against Washington last weekend.

"Great play by Anthony. Great scramble. Great focus. Great
throw," Johnson said of starter Carson Palmer's fill-in. Palmer
has practiced in training camp but is still recovering from a
severe left knee injury.

Wright finished 9-of-19 for 99 yards and a touchdown in the
first half, which ended with the Bengals ahead 27-17.

Cincinnati's defense played a big role, forcing four turnovers
in the first half, returning two of them for touchdowns on Dexter
Jackson's 72-yard fumble return and Keiwan Ratliff's 26-yard
interception return.

The Bills (0-2), coming off a 14-13 loss at Carolina last
weekend, had a mixed outing. The 44 points they allowed is the
fifth most by a Bills team in preseason, and most since a 45-14
loss at Chicago in 1985.

Willis McGahee was the bright spot with nine rushes for 88
yards, including an electrifying 61-yard touchdown run on a power
sweep to the left. The touchdown made up for McGahee's miscue on
the previous possession, when his fumble led to Jackson's
touchdown.

Quarterback J.P. Losman, however, had an up-and-down outing in
his first preseason start, and after coach Dick Jauron named him
the front-runner for the No. 1 job this week.

Losman finished 7-of-11 for 134 yards passing, but lost two
fumbles and an interception, leading to 13 Bengals points. His
worst pass was a quick out intended for Josh Reed, which was
intercepted by Ratliff, who jumped the route with 6 minutes left in
the second quarter.

Losman responded on the next possession, hitting Lee Evans in
stride up the right sideline for a 46-yard touchdown.

It's unclear whether Losman did enough to secure the starting
job in what has been an offseason long competition with Kelly Holcomb and Craig Nall.

"He's got to protect the football," Jauron said. "We've got
to be forcibly patient. We've seen him perform. He's got a strong
arm. ... Sometimes, he holds the ball too long. But we'll just keep
working and moving forward."

"It was unacceptable," Losman said.

The Bengals were without several starters, including both
offensive tackles Levi Jones (sprained ankle) and Willie Anderson.

The Bills played minus former Bengals linebacker Takeo Spikes,
held out as he continues to recover from a torn right Achilles'
tendon he hurt in Week 3 last season. Veteran safety Troy Vincent
was rested while rookie cornerback Ashton Youboty was excused
because of a death in his family.