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Ki-Jana, Bengals KO Saints

September 16, 1996|From Associated Press

CINCINNATI — While fans fretted and coaches wondered about lack of production, Ki-Jana Carter never wavered from his assessment: All he needed was a hole to run through.

He finally got it Sunday, and he gave the Cincinnati Bengals a glimpse of what they've been expecting. Carter ran 31 yards for his first NFL touchdown, setting up a 30-15 victory over the winless New Orleans Saints.

Carter's only notable run of his three-game career salvaged his reputation and granted the Bengals (1-2) a reprieve from misery heading into their bye week.

"It's a big monkey off my back," Carter said. "The people of Cincinnati have supported me for so long. I finally got into the end zone and gave them something to see."

Carter's second-quarter touchdown run--the longest by the Bengals in two years--gave Cincinnati a 17-6 lead that held up largely because the Saints self-destructed in the second half.

New Orleans fell to 0-3 for the second consecutive year by losing its composure. Jim Everett threw three second-half interceptions and fumbled a snap, a roughing the punter penalty sustained one of Cincinnati's field-goal drives, and a series of penalties set up the Bengals' clinching touchdown.

Both teams were led by coaches under fire for poor starts. Neither team played particularly well, but the Bengals made fewer mistakes in front of only 45,412 for the home opener, more than 11,000 under capacity.

Jeff Blake found Darnay Scott uncovered in the end zone for a 24-yard touchdown pass that put the Bengals ahead, 10-3, in the second quarter.

After the second of Doug Brien's three field goals made it 10-6, Carter finally showed the flash that made him the top pick in the 1995 draft. He took a handoff from Blake, ran right, cut back into a hole and ran untouched 31 yards to the end zone.

"It seemed like it took me forever to get there," said Carter, who finished with 63 yards in 19 carries.

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