(October 9, 2005)
Bengals 20 Jacksonville 23
– The Bengals’ Sunday night game started almost as poorly as their last road game on Sunday night.
The Jaguars jumped out to a 13-0 lead halfway through the second quarter. The Bengals fought back but came up short, losing for the first time in five games, 23-20.
(It was a much better showing in the end than the Bengals’ 30-3 loss in 2002 at Atlanta.)
Trailing 23-20 after forcing a Jacksonville punt, the Bengals got the ball back with 2:42 remaining on their own 22-yard line.
They moved to the Jacksonville 45 on three completed passes, but quarterback Carson Palmer fumbled while stepping up trying to avoid the rush.
Running back Chris Perry tried to chip block linebacker Daryl Smith, who ran past Perry to swat the ball loose.
Linebacker Akin Ayodele recovered at the 45 to end the drive.
Trailing 23-13 with 6:35 left, the Bengals went 73 yards on just three plays to close within 23-20.
Rookie Chris Henry caught two passes for 72 yards, 47 on the first play and 25 yards on the third play for the touchdown across the middle.
Henry, playing for the injured T.J. Houshmandzadeh (hand), finished with three receptions for 85 yards.
The Bengals trailed 13-0 midway through the second quarter before scoring on their fifth possession.
The first four ended in Kyle Larson punts.
"We dug ourselves a hole in field position in the first half," Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said. "Letting them go down the field and scoring in the third quarter, so we’re playing from behind; today Jacksonville beat us."
Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson not only resuscitated the football after his 14-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter, he revived his team.
His much-anticipated end zone celebration was to perform CPR on the ball.
But Johnson was frustrated with the evening’s output.
"They didn’t get it to me, period," said Johnson, who had five catches. "They doubled me the whole game. That happens every week. Does that mean when a team doubles me that I’m through?"
"It’s not hard to get it to (Philadelphia’s Terrell Owens) or (Oakland’s) Randy Moss," Johnson added.
Johnson’s catch in the corner of the end zone with 5:36 left in the second quarter pulled the Bengals to within 13-7.
Palmer eluded the rush of defensive end Reggie Hayward and threw off his back foot.
"They’ll keep playing," Lewis said when asked afterward what he learned about his team. "We didn’t play well at the beginning of the game and were playing uphill. But we kept playing and hanging in there together."
Palmer was 22-for-33 passing for 239 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. His passer rating of 108.0 was his eighth in a row over 100.
The Bengals trailed 13-7 at the half, but the Jaguars took the second-half kickoff and went 62 yards on six plays.
Quarterback Byron Leftwich threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Ernest Wilford. Wilford took the quick pass and easily eluded the attempted tackle of cornerback Tory James.
The Bengals added two field goals in the third quarter from Shayne Graham, from 31 and 48 yards, to pull within 20-13.
The second field goal came after Hannibal Navies forced and recovered a fumble on a kickoff.
The Bengals have scored 56 points this season off turnovers.
Each team committed one turnover. The Bengals stay plus-13 in turnover differential.
The Bengals were driving for a possible tying touchdown in the first minute of the fourth quarter, but Rudi Johnson was stopped on a fourth-and-1 play inside the Jacksonville 40-yard line.
Johnson ended up with 76 rushing yards on 18 carries. Chris Perry ran seven times for 55 yards.
The Bengals committed 12 penalties for 94 yards.
A penalty hurt the Bengals on the first punt. From the Bengals 12-yard line, Larson boomed what would have been a 69-yard punt. But gunner Reggie Myles was penalized for running out of bounds and being the first player to touch the ball.
The 5-yard penalty forced Larson to punt again, and his next effort traveled just 34 yards. The Jaguars had the ball on the Bengals 41.
The Jaguars also hurt themselves with penalties. Tailback Fred Taylor ran 41 yards with a handoff for a touchdown on the first play, but wide receiver Jimmy Smith was called for holding.
The Jaguars scored on the drive anyway when Leftwich threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to tight end George Wrighster, who hurdled cornerback Deltha O’Neal at the 8 and ran into the end zone.
The TD was Jacksonville’s first in the first quarter in five games.
The Bengals could not stop Jacksonville on the ground. The Jaguars ran for 181 yards on 37 carries, a 4.9-yard average.
Taylor ran 24 times for 132 yards, a 5.5-yard average. He broke several tackles in the game and had at least three long runs called back by holding penalties.
"Taylor made a lot of yards on missed tackles," Lewis said.
Offensively, rookie center Eric Ghiaciuc made a solid NFL debut. He played for the injured Rich Braham (knee), who dressed but did not play.
Jacksonville’s tough defense sacked Palmer twice. The Bengals did rush 26 times for 132 yards.
The Bengals dropped to 3-8 all-time and 1-5 on the road in Sunday night games. And the loss was their seventh in a row in Jacksonville, where the Bengals have not won since 1995, the first year for the expansion Jaguars.