Palmer leads Bengals by Pats

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 23, 2004

CINCINNATI - Carson Palmer gave Cincinnati fans more reason to believe this could be a turnaround season for the Bengals.

''We can be very explosive. I think we showed that tonight,'' Palmer said. ''If we stick with our game plan, and guys execute, that's what happens - you put up 30 points.''

Palmer passed for three touchdowns and set up another with a 48-yard completion to Chad Johnson as the Bengals scored on their first three possessions and beat the New England Patriots 31-3.

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''I hope we're on the way up,'' Bengals coach Marvin Lewis. ''We're getting better. We have a bunch of guys who are smart enough to learn from their mistakes.''

It was a breakthrough game for Palmer and a giddy night for Bengals fans, who cheered Palmer and running back Rudi Johnson, and booed former Cincinnati running back Corey Dillon - traded to the Super Bowl champions during the offseason.

Palmer played only the first half and was 12-of-19 for 179 yards.

Tom Brady, New England's two-time Super Bowl MVP, also played a half and was 8-of-13 for 126 yards, with one interception.