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Bengals 0-3 again

The Associated Press

Carolina’s first-year coach hadn’t lost many games in his career, but the Panthers tagged his San Francisco 49ers three years ago.

Monday, September 27, 1999

Carolina’s first-year coach hadn’t lost many games in his career, but the Panthers tagged his San Francisco 49ers three years ago. And Seifert joked to his new team that it was good to finally break the losing curse Sunday with the Panthers’ 27-3 win over Cincinnati (0-3).

”I was kidding with the team in there,” he said. ”I said I finally won a game in this stadium. It went over better in there.”

Just as Seifert is expected to go over well with the mix of veterans and young talent on Carolina (1-2). For instance, this week there was no shouting, yelling, challenging or finger-pointing from Seifert, just encouragement, according to linebacker Michael Barrow.

”He’s all business, very professional,” Barrow said. ”He understands what he should expect out of this team and didn’t panic about us not winning.”

Seifert’s patient approach won him the game ball from quarterback Steve Beuerlein, despite Tshimanga Biakabutuka rushing for 132 yards and Mohamed Musin catching eight passes for 117 yards.

”Kevin Greene came up and said maybe it would be a nice thing to let coach Seifert have it,” Beuerlein said after completing 17 of 24 passes for 204 yards. ”We thought it was good idea.”

Seifert’s winning percentage of .765 (98-30) had led the NFL coming into the season. However, he didn’t start pressing when the Panthers appeared to mess it up with two straight losses.

”There’s no reason he would,” cornerback Doug Evans said. ”That’s not the way he is.”

Carolina kept Seifert percentage points (.756) ahead of Oakland coach John Madden, who won 75 percent of his games in 10 seasons (103-32-7).

Seifert says he and his staff are feeding off the excitement he sees on the Panthers.

”If players are working hard and really into the profession, it helps. If players are working just to get paychecks, which this group is not, you might have some doubts about a year,” Seifert said.

Biakabutuka said he felt finally like the fast, powerful runner the Panthers’ selected from Michigan. in 1996. He had the longest run in team history with his 62-yard touchdown run on Carolina’s opening play.

Biakabutuka broke his mark about two hours later, escaping a potential 5-yard loss to go 67 yards for a touchdown. He cut back right after Reinard Wilson missed a tackle and was sprung free with help from Beuerlein’s rolling block of Artrell Hawkins.

”Steve’s always looking to hit somebody,” lineman Matt Campbell said.

It was more woe and misery for Cincinnati, which missed three field goals, gained only 37 yards rushing the final three quarters and watched former top draft pick Ki-Jana Carter leave the field with a dislocated kneecap.

Quarterback Jeff Blake played despite a separated right shoulder, finishing 24 of 43 for 251 yards.

Corey Dillon ran for 89 yards in the first quarter, but leg cramps and Carolina’s growing lead limited his effectiveness the rest of the way.

”I can only do my job,” he said. ”I can’t be accountable for everybody else. It’s a team sport.”

Bruce Coslet could only shake his head and wonder what might go wrong next. ”It’s something different every week,” he said.

The victory was a relief to the Panthers, no matter who it came against. ”We’ll take this for what it’s worth,” Beuerlein said. ”We know there are things we have to work on.”

Don’t tell that to Barrow, who was smiling just thinking about it.

”It was like we were in a dry desert,” he said. ”And I’m just enjoying the rain right now.”