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AFC ROUNDUP

Bengals Bounce Back to Knock Off the Titans

October 17, 2005|From Associated Press

The only thing Chad Johnson didn't do against the Tennessee Titans was unveil his latest touchdown celebration.

Carson Palmer tossed a 15-yard touchdown pass to his favorite receiver with 4:19 left that gave Cincinnati the lead for good, and the Bengals bounced back from their first loss of the season with a 31-23 win over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday at Nashville.

A penalty forced Johnson to wait and see whether he had scored his first touchdown against the Titans. By the time the referee announced defensive pass interference, Johnson said the moment for a dance had passed.

"The heat of the moment was gone," Johnson said. "But it would've been a square dance anyway. The heel-toe thing. I was going to go around the goal post, all that good stuff."

A week after complaining about being held to five catches in a loss at Jacksonville, Johnson hooked up with Palmer on eight receptions for 135 yards.

"We had a couple good situations to get Chad one on one and get him on a rookie, and that's what we want. A veteran Pro Bowl guy going against a rookie is something that makes me lick my chops," Palmer said.

Palmer also tied Peyton Manning's NFL record with his ninth straight game with a passer rating of 100 or above. He completed 27 of 33 passes for 272 yards and two touchdowns for a rating of 121.2.

"He feels like he's invincible, but right now he knows he can go win it the next play," Cincinnati Coach Marvin Lewis said of his quarterback. "He doesn't have to win it on every play. And I think that says a lot for how he is and how important he is to this football team."

The Titans (2-4) had won nine of the last 10 in this series between old AFC Central rivals, but Cincinnati (5-1) won for the first time since the 2001 season finale and is 1 1/2 games ahead of Pittsburgh in the AFC North heading into its big matchup against the Steelers next Sunday.

Palmer's second touchdown pass put the Bengals up, 24-20, and the Bengals ended the Titans' hopes of winning consecutive games for the first time since the end of the 2003 season by forcing two turnovers in the final 3:09.

Rudi Johnson ran for a touchdown, Chris Perry had a one-yard scoring reception, and linebacker Odell Thurman also returned an interception 30 yards for a score for Cincinnati.

Tennessee failed to do the one thing Coach Jeff Fisher preached about: protecting the football against the NFL's best team at forcing turnovers.

"I'm not going to pin the loss on the offense, but as a team, when you turn it over and don't get turnovers, you're going to have a hard time beating a team like this," Fisher said.

San Diego 27, Oakland 14 -- LaDainian Tomlinson and the Chargers are dominating the Raiders in a way they haven't since Al Davis was on the San Diego side of this rivalry.

Tomlinson became the seventh player in NFL history and first since 2001 to run, catch and throw for a touchdown as the visiting Chargers shut down a Raider offense slowed by an injury to Randy Moss. It was San Diego's fourth win in a row in the series.

The Chargers (3-3) hadn't won four straight in a rivalry dominated by the Raiders since taking the first six meetings from 1960 to '62, when Davis was their defensive ends coach.

Tomlinson showed off his all-around skills as never before in his career, with his three first-half touchdowns, 140 yards rushing and 39 yards receiving.

Oakland (1-4) committed penalties to extend San Diego's first two touchdown drives, Kerry Collins was 24 for 48 for 292 yards and had a pass intercepted for the first time this season.

The Raiders had 39 yards rushing.

Jacksonville 23, Pittsburgh 17 -- If the Steelers didn't realize the value of injured quarterback Ben Roethlisberger before, they do now.

Rashean Mathis scored on a 41-yard return of a Tommy Maddox interception in overtime and the Jaguars took advantage of four Maddox turnovers against the injury-thinned Steelers at Pittsburgh.

The Steelers (3-2) lost their second straight game at home. They looked to be in position to win after Quincy Morgan's 71-yard kickoff return to start the overtime. But Maddox fumbled the ball away at the 27 with Jeff Reed readying to attempt a game-winning field goal on the next play.

After the Jaguars (4-2) punted, Maddox looked to his left, then went back to his right to try to find Morgan on a second-and-10 play from the Steeler 35, but Mathis cut in front and scored without being touched.

Buffalo 27, New York Jets 17 -- Kelly Holcomb threw two touchdown passes in winning his second straight start for the Bills.

Willis McGahee had a career-high 143 yards rushing and a score, and receivers Eric Moulds and Jonathan Smith also scored touchdowns for Buffalo (3-3) at Orchard Park, N.Y.

The Bills had five sacks and forced three turnovers, including Terrence McGee's interception in the end zone with three minutes left.

Holcomb finished 18 for 26 for 172 yards. He replaced J.P. Losman, who struggled in starting the first four games this season.

Curtis Martin led the Jets (2-4) with a season-high 148 yards rushing and became the seventh player to gain 17,000 yards from scrimmage.

Baltimore 16, Cleveland 3 -- The Ravens forced three turnovers and sacked former teammate Trent Dilfer four times at Baltimore.

Todd Heap scored the only touchdown for the Ravens (2-3), who bounced back from their worst start in franchise history, which included being penalized 21 times last week in a defeat at Detroit.

Dilfer led the Ravens to a win in the 2001 Super Bowl but was released after the season when Baltimore signed Elvis Grbac. He was obtained this year from Seattle by the Browns (2-3).

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