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DENVER 30, CINCINNATI 10

Portis Carries the Day for Broncos

September 08, 2003|From Associated Press

CINCINNATI — Marvin Lewis gave the Cincinnati Bengals a new look -- all-black uniforms. Clinton Portis made them look like the same sorry team.

Portis ran for 120 yards and two first-half touchdowns Sunday, and the NFL's worst team of the last 12 years went on another self-destructive binge that helped the Denver Broncos roll, 30-10.

The Broncos turned to their rookie-of-the-year rusher to pull them through their new quarterback's shaky debut. A nervous Jake Plummer was repeatedly off-target, had three passes intercepted and looked skittish.

The $40-million acquisition finished 12 for 25 for 115 yards, numbers that translated into a minuscule passer rating of 21.7.

Bronco linebacker Ian Gold returned Jon Kitna's shovel pass 12 yards for a touchdown early in the third quarter, prompting the crowd of 63,820 to boo with gusto over another season-opening embarrassment.

The Bengals were back to their old tricks -- a field goal nullified by penalty, a fumbled kickoff and missed tackles galore. Most of the fans' wrath was directed at Kitna, who won't be the starting quarterback for long if he plays as he did Sunday. No. 1 draft pick Carson Palmer of USC is waiting on the bench.

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