The Bengals are 3-0 for the first time since 1990, the last time the franchise made the playoffs. It is uncharted territory for many Bengals fans.
Carson Palmer threw touchdown passes of 18 and 40 yards to Chad Johnson and 36 yards to rookie Chris Henry. Palmer was 16-for-23 passing for 162 yards and three touchdowns and had his sixth consecutive game with an impressive passer rating better than 100 at 130.3.
The Bengals’ defense also took a shutout into the fourth quarter for the second game in a row and has allowed just 28 points in three games.
The Bengals scored 24 points against a Bears defense that had allowed just 15 in its first two games.
The Bengals intercepted five passes. With five the previous week against Minnesota, the Bengals are the first team since Cleveland in 1971 to have five interceptions in consecutive games.
The 10 interceptions in two consecutive games is a Bengals record. The previous mark was nine on Oct. 19 and Oct. 26, 1975, against the Oakland Raiders and Atlanta Falcons.
The Bengals are 2-0 on the road and have won six in a row against NFC teams.
The Bengals led 10-0 at halftime and scored all their points off turnovers. Those 10 gave the Bengals 43 of their 74 points (through 10 quarters) as the result of turnovers. The touchdown pass to Henry came after a Deltha O’Neal interception – the Bengals’ fifth – in the third quarter. The Bengals have scored 50 points on possessions after a turnover.
On the Bears’ first possession, Bengals linebacker Brian Simmons intercepted rookie quarterback Kyle Orton. The ball popped out of receiver Justin Cage’s arms when he was hit by safety Kevin Kaesviharn. Simmons returned the ball to the Chicago 39-yard line, where he fumbled. Rookie linebacker Odell Thurman picked up the ball and ran 21 yards to the 18.
From there, on the first play, Palmer threw a strike between two defensive backs to Chad Johnson for an 18-yard touchdown. It was the first time in six tries that the Bears’ defense had allowed a touchdown in six red-zone possessions.
On Chicago’s third possession, Orton threw his second pick, this one right to Bengals cornerback Keiwan Ratliff. The Bengals had second down and 12 from the Chicago 38 when Palmer threw deep for T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Cornerback Charles Tillman grabbed Houshmandzadeh by the shoulder pads at the 3. But the Bengals could not get the touchdown.
On third and goal from the 5, Palmer threw an apparent touchdown pass to Houshmandzadeh at the right pylon. But Chad Johnson was penalized for offensive pass interference in the end zone, and the Bengals would settle for a 33-yard Shayne Graham field goal. It was Graham’s sixth field goal in six attempts this season.
The Bengals also had interceptions from Madieu Williams and Tory James. In the first half, Orton was 4-for-11 passing for 31 yards and four interceptions. His passer rating at the half was 5.3.
O’Neal had his fourth interception of the season and recovered a fumble in the fourth quarter. It was the Bengals’ 16th takeaway against just four giveaways.
Bengals running back Chris Perry lost a fumble in the second quarter. As of halftime, the Bengals had 14 takeaways this season and just four turnovers.
After Perry’s fumble, the Bears drove to the Bengals’ 21-yard line, but Doug Brien’s 39-yard field-goal attempt sailed wide left.
The Bengals suffered two first-half injuries. Right tackle Willie Anderson, making his 83rd consecutive start, left in the second quarter with a back strain. Chad Johnson left with leg cramps but did return.