(October 16, 2005)
Bengals 31 Tennessee 23
Bengals earn fifth victory!!
Carson Palmer threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Chad Johnson with 4:19 remaining in the fourth quarter to give the Bengals their first lead, and they won 31-23 this afternoon against the Tennessee Titans.
The Bengals are 5-1 after the victory, an impressive 3-1 on the road. They had been 3-5 on the road in the previous two seasons.
No Bengals team has been 5-1 since the 1988 Super Bowl team was 6-0.
Since starting the 2004 season with a 1-4 record, the Bengals have won 12 of 17 games.
The Bengals picked on rookie cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones on the winning drive. Jones committed a 33-yard pass interference penalty that gave the Bengals the ball on the Titans 20-yard line.
On second and five, Palmer threw 15 yards to Johnson in the end zone. Johnson, who had eight receptions for 135 yards, had beaten Jones again. Jones was called for pass interference on the touchdown. The Bengals declined the penalty. Johnson, to the surprise of everyone in attendance, did not perform an end-zone dance.
Bengals safety Kevin Kaesviharn intercepted a Steve McNair pass on the ensuing drive, but the Bengals had to punt the ball back.
Then Bengals cornerback Tory James jarred the ball loose after a six-yard reception and ran the recovery 26 yards to the 1. Then Rudi Johnson ran one yard for a touchdown.
Palmer was 27-for-33 passing for two touchdowns and 272 yards and a 121.2 passer rating. Palmer tied Peyton Manning’s NFL record with his ninth consecutive game with a 100-plus passer rating.
The Bengals fell behind by three, 20-17, at 4:54 in the fourth quarter when Tennessee’s Rob Bironas kicked a 29-yard field goal.
Middle linebacker Odell Thurman pulled the Bengals even at 17 late in the third quarter when he intercepted a pass and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown. James deflected the pass, and Thurman caught the ball in stride and out-ran the offense to the end zone.
The interception was the Bengals’ 13th of the season. The Rudi Johnson touchdown late in the game gave the Bengals 70 points off turnovers in six games.
The Bengals cut down on the number of penalties, but they came at key times and did hurt.
The Bengals had the ball and were down 17-10 late in the third quarter. On a third-and-6 play from their 38-yard line, Palmer lofted a pass to Perry, who ran down the sideline for what would have been a 43-yard gain to the Tennessee 19-yard line. The play was called back on a holding penalty on right guard Bobbie Williams.
Earlier this season, Perry had an 86-yard touchdown called back when he outraced the Minnesota defense down the sideline.
The Bengals ended up punting to end the possession.
The Bengals unleashed their potent offense on consecutive drives that sandwiched halftime.
To open the second half, behind 10-7, the Bengals drove 76 yards to set up a 21-yard field goal. The Bengals had first and goal from the 5, but penalties again hurt them.
First, there was a delay-of-game penalty that pushed them back to the 10. Then Perry ran left for an apparent 10-yard touchdown, but it was nullified by a holding penalty on tight end Matt Scobel. It was the fourth touchdown called back by a Bengals penalty this season.
On that drive, Palmer was 6-for-7 passing for 76 yards. He threw 35 yards to Chad Johnson to move the ball to the 5-yard line.
At that point, the Bengals had committed three penalties for 22 yards in losses.
The Bengals defense gave the points right back. Though McNair missed two open receivers, one short and one long, tailback Chris Brown ran in from the 9-yard line for a 17-10 Tennessee lead.
Brown scored the game’s first touchdown with 12:40 remaining in the second quarter on a four-yard run.
In the first half, trailing 10-0, the Bengals got back into the game with a nearly-perfect two-minute drive at the end of the first half.
Palmer was 9-for-9 passing on the drive for 79 yards. He passed one yard to Perry for the touchdown that pulled the Bengals within 10-6. Shayne Graham’s extra point pulled the Bengals within three.
The touchdown was the first of Perry’s career.
Wide receiver Kevin Walter had three receptions for 50 yards on the drive. He caught an 18-yard slant pattern to give the Bengals the ball on the Tennessee 1.
For the half, Palmer was 14-for-15 passing for 124 yards and one touchdown. His passer rating for the half was 123.3.