CLEVELAND — The locker room was strangely subdued as Cincinnati players quietly peeled off adhesive tape, packed up equipment and dressed.
The Bengals acted like experienced winners on Sunday. They played like them too.
Carson Palmer threw two touchdown passes and the Bengals opened a season they're confident will be a winning one with a 27-13 victory over Cleveland, spoiling Romeo Crennel's coaching debut with the Browns.
"It's a huge win for us," Palmer said. "Getting off to a fast start is what we wanted to do."
The Bengals haven't had a winning record since 1990.
Bad starts have doomed Coach Marvin Lewis' first two seasons with the Bengals, who began the last two 1-4 before recovering to finish 8-8.
Lewis isn't quite ready to proclaim his team anything other than improved.
"We are not off to a good start," Lewis said. "We just won one football game. We have a chance to write the script on what a good start is. We play Minnesota next week, and now that is our focus."