Browns 17

(0-2, 0-1 away)

Bengals 34

(2-0, 1-0 home)

Coverage: CBS

1:00 PM ET, September 17, 2006

Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH 

1 2 3 4 T
CLE 3 0 0 1417
CIN 14 3 0 1734

Top Performers

Passing: C. Palmer (CIN) - 352 YDS, 2 TD, 2 INT

Rushing: R. Johnson (CIN) - 26 CAR, 145 YDS, 2 TD

Receiving: C. Henry (CIN) - 5 REC, 113 YDS

Palmer helps battered Bengals win battle of Ohio 

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Even Chad Johnson's touchdown dance hurt.

Rudi! Rudi!
How Bengals running back Rudi Johnson has fared in his past four games against the Browns:
Date Carries Yards TD
Sept. 17, 2006 26 145 2
Dec. 11, 2005 30 169 1
Sept. 11, 2005 26 126 1
Nov. 28, 2004 26 202 2
Totals 108 642 6

The Cincinnati Bengals lost three starters to injury, and a bunch more were groggy and bleeding after a 34-17 victory Sunday over the Cleveland Browns -- a troubling turn for the defending AFC North champs.

"This is probably the most banged up we've been," said Carson Palmer, who was moving slowly after the second-best passing day of his career.

Even with their patchwork lineup, the Bengals (2-0) had their way with the Browns (0-2), who struggled mightily to move the ball and repeatedly self-destructed for the second week in a row.

"We felt like we were in position to be able to compete, and we came out the first two games and stunk it up," linebacker Andra Davis said. "It's not a good feeling."

The Bengals weren't feeling too good, either, but overcame what ailed them.

It was over when ...
Rudi Johnson rushed for two touchdowns in less than three minutes in the fourth quarter, boosting the Bengals to a 34-10 lead.
Game ball goes to ...
Carson Palmer. The Bengals quarterback was 24-of-40 passing for 352 yards and two touchdowns, the sixth 300-yard game of his career and his second-best passing total. His second straight strong performance all but puts to rest concerns about how he has recovered from his knee injury.

Palmer threw for 352 yards and his first two touchdowns of the season. Chris Henry, who pleaded guilty to a gun charge five days earlier, led the way with five catches for 113 yards. Rudi Johnson ran for 145 yards and two touchdowns.

It was Palmer's sixth 300-yard game and the second-highest total of his career, the latest piece of proof that he has fully recovered from a knee injury. The Bengals needed a steady game from Palmer on an unsettling day.

"We go how far Carson takes us," said receiver Kelley Washington, who had a 22-yard touchdown catch. "He's a great leader and a great quarterback."

Injuries forced one of the NFL's most balanced offenses to improvise.

Receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh and left tackle Levi Jones were inactive with lingering injuries. During the first half, the Bengals lost center Rich Braham to a knee injury, safety Dexter Jackson to an ankle injury, and linebacker David Pollack, who was taken to a hospital for evaluation of an unspecified neck injury. Pollack had full movement in his arms and legs.

Few Bengals made it through unscathed. They won anyway.

"That's what you've got to have -- a deep football team," coach Marvin Lewis said. "That's what the best teams are."

This one hurt from start to finish.

Chad Johnson got his first touchdown of the season, stretching far out of the end zone to catch an 8-yard pass from Palmer. He got the tips of his black cleats down before landing hard on his right shoulder.

The Pro Bowl receiver popped up, did an encore of the "Chicken Dance" that he performed at the city's Oktoberfest a day earlier, then slouched in pain. He didn't miss any plays, but ended the game on another painful note.

Brian Russell's high hit knocked off Johnson's helmet on the Bengals' final pass, leaving his white No. 85 jersey spotted with blood. Johnson had still had glassy eyes and several stitches just below his chin when he emerged from the trainer's room.

"How do I look?" he said, trying to focus his eyes.

He was too disoriented to conduct an interview.

"I talked to Chad," Palmer said. "He's a little loopy. He's a little out of it."

The Bengals' balance allowed them to stay unbeaten for their long-awaited game next Sunday in Pittsburgh, against the team that knocked them out of the playoffs in January.

"That's the thing we try to get to around here," said right tackle Willie Anderson, blood oozing from the bridge of his nose. "It's not about one player or one side. With our schedule, this team can't be one-sided."

By contrast, Cleveland's offense never got off the ground. The bumbling Browns failed to get more than one first down on any first-half drive. They had a field goal and Charlie Frye's late 2-yard touchdown run set up by interceptions.

Frye repeatedly threw behind receivers in a conservative approach -- hand off, dump off, throw short over the middle. He didn't put together a touchdown drive until the fourth quarter, when he completed a 75-yard pass to Braylon Edwards down the left sideline to set up a score.

"We weren't good on either side of the ball," coach Romeo Crennel said. "It wasn't good. That's about all I can say."

Game notes

Frye was 20-of-33 for 244 yards. The 75-yard completion to Edwards was the longest of his career, and the second-longest of the receiver's career. ... The Browns are 0-2 for the third time since they rejoined the league as an expansion team in 1999. ... Bengals K Shayne Graham missed a 44-yard field goal attempt to the right, ending his club-record streak of 17 made in a row. It was his first miss since last Nov. 6 at Baltimore. ... Graham made his next two tries. ... With LT Levi Jones out, the Bengals moved LG Eric Steinbach to tackle and gave second-round pick Andrew Whitworth his first start at guard.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

1st Downs1727
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
Total Plays5376
Total Yards301481
Yards per play5.76.3
Total Drives1315
Yards per pass
Interceptions thrown
Sacks-Yards Lost
Rushing Attempts
Yards per rush
Red Zone (Made-Att)2-33-5
Fumbles lost
Interceptions thrown
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00

Passing Leaders


Rushing Leaders


Receiving Leaders


Scoring Summary

cinTD12:33Kelley Washington, 22 yd pass from Carson Palmer
Drive info: 5 plays, 75 yds, 2:33
cleFG8:54Phil Dawson 23 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 4 plays, 4 yds, 1:24
cinTD3:18Chad Johnson, 8 yd pass from Carson Palmer
Drive info: 14 plays, 92 yds, 5:41
cinFG0:03Shayne Graham 29 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 8 plays, 36 yds, 1:54
cinFG14:16Shayne Graham 29 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 11 plays, 58 yds, 4:01
cleTD13:10Reuben Droughns, 1 yd run
Drive info: 2 plays, 76 yds, 1:05
cinTD9:54Rudi Johnson, 1 yd run
Drive info: 7 plays, 80 yds, 3:16
cinTD7:14Rudi Johnson, 9 yd run
Drive info: 4 plays, 26 yds, 2:24
cleTD1:03Charlie Frye, 2 yd run
Drive info: 3 plays, 22 yds, 0:56