Brees throws for 510 yards ... and loses to Bengals

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- If anyone doubted how seriously Chad Johnson

takes his role on the Cincinnati Bengals, consider this: He was too

hurt to perform his trademark end zone celebrations.

Scouts Inc.'s take ...

Despite six starters inactive this week, the Bengals still brought a balanced attack to New Orleans to get the win on the road. Carson Palmer (above) continually looked in Chad Johnson's direction, as the Saints had no one on their defense who could keep up with Johnson from an athletic and talent standpoint.

Cincinnati's success with the deep ball softened up the Saints' defense for the physicality of Rudi Johnson. Plus, the Bengals' pass protection was superb. Despite the fact he threw for 510 yards, the Bengals defense kept Drew Brees off balance. Cincinnati had success with safety blitzes and caused turnovers (including two costly ones in the end zone).

He retained the will to score game-breaking touchdowns.

For a second Sunday in a row, Johnson and quarterback Carson

Palmer terrorized an opposing defense, connecting for 190 yards and

three touchdowns. This time, however, it resulted in a 31-16

victory over the New Orleans Saints that halted a three-game losing

skid and renewed hope of a playoff run in the Bengals' locker room.

"I'm trying to be as consistent as possible, trying to make

sure I do all I can to make sure we come up out of this hole and

make this run," said Johnson, who limped into the end zone at the

end of a 60-yard touchdown reception that gave the Bengals a 17-10

lead in the fourth quarter. "It was a necessary victory. A must


Johnson said his right hamstring was hurting, but returned on

the next series and caught a 48-yard pass, followed by a 4-yard TD

catch on a quick slant as the Bengals (5-5) pulled away.

"I knew Chad was going to come back in the game," Palmer said.

"He had been playing so well. He's a tough guy."

New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees lost top receiver Marques

Colston, who left with an ankle injury in the first offensive

series. That didn't slow down Brees, who went on to throw for more

than 500 yards and two TDs.

Elias Says

Chad Johnson
Chad Johnson gained 190 yards receiving in the Bengals' 31-16 win at New Orleans. Combined with his 260-yard performance against the Chargers last week, Johnson set an all-time NFL record for receiving yardage in consecutive games (450). The previous mark was 448 yards by John Taylor of the 49ers in December 1989.

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Saints coach Sean Payton said Colston has a sprained left ankle,

and did not yet know his status for next week.

The Saints (6-4) couldn't overcome Brees' three interceptions.

"Our guys are playing with a tremendous amount of energy, but

they're making too many mistakes," Payton said.

Palmer and Johnson had combined for 260 yards and two touchdowns

last week against San Diego, but it was all for naught in a 49-41

loss. This week, they got some help from the defense, which

thwarted four Saints drives with turnovers.

Palmer was 14-of-22 passing for 275 yards and benefited from the

balance provided by Rudi Johnson's 111 yards rushing for the

Bengals (5-5).

Palmer was intercepted once, but made the Saints pay when they

blew coverages on play-action fakes. On the Bengals' first

touchdown, Johnson changed his route, sprinting past cornerback

Fred Thomas and raising his hand when he saw Saints safety Josh

Bullocks wasn't deep enough. Palmer saw it and lofted a 41-yarder

on target.

"That's nothing more than Chad and I just making eye contact

through a route and the defense not even being around him because

they're out of position," Palmer said. "Chad and I have worked

together a lot, not just during the season. ... We understand each

other. I understand how Chad runs certain routes and know he's

always looking for that big play if he can get behind the


New Orleans looked like the better team for much of the game,

but as it was in its two previous losses to Pittsburgh and

Baltimore, turnovers were costly.

"We can move the ball at will, any time, any place ... through

the air, on the ground, whatever it takes," Brees said. "But when

it really comes down to it, you have to take care of the football,

you have to convert on third down. We can be as good as we want to

be as long as we take care of the football."

Two promising drives ended with interceptions in the end zone.

Brees also had an interception returned 52 yards for a touchdown

by Ethan Kilmer that gave the Bengals a 31-10 lead with 6:14 to go.

Cincinnati's defense made an important stand early in the fourth

quarter, stopping Deuce McAllister on a third-and-1 at the Bengals'

5-yard line. A touchdown could have put New Orleans ahead and

changed the complexion of the game. Instead, John Carney's short

field goal tied the game at 10.

Brees was 37-of-52 for 510 yards passing, his fourth consecutive

game with more than 300 yards. But New Orleans has lost three of

those four games, including two in a row.

Reggie Bush and McAllister combined for 91 yards rushing, with

Bush accounting for 51.

Brees' touchdown passes went for 72 yards to Joe Horn in the

first quarter and 27 yards to Terrance Copper late in the game.Game notes
Horn's touchdown in the first quarter was his 50th for the

Saints. He became one of only two players to ever reach 50 in New

Orleans. The other was Dalton Hilliard, who had 53 from 1986-93.

... Kevin Kaesviharn, inserted as a starter at safety for injured

Dexter Jackson (Achilles tendon) had 10 tackles, including two

sacks, and an interception. ... Brees' passing yardage total was

sixth-highest in NFL history. The most is 554 by Norm Van Brocklin

with the Los Angeles Rams in 1951.