No guaranteed win this time for Bengals

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 9, 2003

CINCINNATI - Uh, oh. Chad Johnson is making another guarantee.

The brash receiver has promised fans something memorable Sunday during a pivotal game in the Cincinnati Bengals' renaissance season.

A big win? No, a little choreography.

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''I've got an end zone celebration,'' he said. ''I've got a treat. Y'all come out and support us.''

The Houston Texans would love to shut him down and shut him up.

During the Texans' two-year history, no one has gotten under their skin quite like Johnson, who burst into the national spotlight at their expense last year. The Bengals were 0-7 and a national punch line when Johnson flat-out guaranteed that the losing streak would end against the expansion Texans.

The guarantee brought more ridicule - until it came true.

The Texans were so infuriated by the guarantee that they set out to make Johnson eat his words. Instead, they played like a distracted team and wound up with a 38-3 loss, the most lopsided defeat in their 24-game history.

''We let the whole week leading up to that become too overwhelming for some of the guys,'' quarterback David Carr said. ''We didn't play with enough fire. When someone calls you out like that, you should go out and try to do a little more than we did.

''None of the guys here is going to guarantee anything, but I do see us coming out there harder than we did here last year.''

Houston (3-5) is acting like it's the team with something to prove this week. Coach Dom Capers put the score of last year's game up in the team's meeting room during the week, a reminder that some amends have yet to be made.

''That defeat really has been the most significant defeat that we've had since we've been here,'' Capers said.

A victory Sunday would be one of the more significant ones for the Texans, who have never won back-to-back games. Backup quarterback Tony Banks led them to a 14-10 victory over Carolina last Sunday, and Carr is expected to return from a sprained ankle to start against the Bengals.