Jaguars hand Bengals first loss

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 14, 2005

The Associated Press

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Chad Johnson and Carson Palmer were getting along fine when the Cincinnati Bengals were undefeated.

They might not be so chummy now.

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Johnson caught five passes for 52 yards and a touchdown in a 23-20 loss at Jacksonville on Sunday night, then complained that the Bengals (4-1) didn't do enough to get him the ball. He also got into a sideline argument with Palmer that had to be broken up by coach Marvin Lewis.

‘‘They didn't get it to me period!'' Johnson said. ‘‘They doubled me the whole game. That happens every week. Does that mean that when a team doubles me that I'm through? It's not too hard to get it to (Terrell Owens) or Randy Moss.''

With T.J. Houshmandzadeh sidelined by a hand injury, Johnson figured to be Palmer's main target against the Jaguars (3-2).

He was, at least on one drive. Palmer and Johnson hooked up three times on a second-quarter drive that followed their sideline spat, including once for a 14-yard score.

Johnson then made good on his promise of having something special planned if he reached the end zone during Cincinnati's lone appearance in prime time this season. He performed CPR on the football, pretending to give it mouth-to-mouth and three chest compressions.

But he didn't touch the ball again until the final drive. By then, he was clearly frustrated.

‘‘We need to win these,'' he said. ‘‘I'm not satisfied with 4-1. The Bengals of old might have been OK keeping it close. We're not supposed to be close anymore.''

The Bengals started 4-0 for the first time since 1988 - the franchise's last Super Bowl season - and entered the game as one of the last two undefeated teams in the league.

But the Jaguars took advantage of good field position early and had two key stops in the fourth quarter that left AFC South rival Indianapolis as the lone unbeaten. Byron Leftwich also threw two touchdowns and Fred Taylor ran for a season-high 132 yards.

‘‘This was huge,'' Jags cornerback Rashean Mathis said. ‘‘There's a big difference between 3-2 and 2-3. It means a great deal.''

Josh Scobee kicked three field goals, including a 51-yarder in the second period and a 53-yarder with 9:45 to play that gave the Jaguars a 10-point lead.

Jacksonville's defense held on from there - barely - and kept Palmer from engineering a dramatic comeback.

Bobby McCray knocked the ball out of Palmer's hand at the Jacksonville 45 with 1:28 to play. Akin Ayodele, who dropped a possible interception the play before, recovered it.

The Jags then ran out the clock.

The defense's other key stop came on fourth-and-1 at the Jags 39 with 14:30 remaining. Rudi Johnson ran up the middle, and John Henderson and Marcus Stroud stuffed him for no gain. The Jags then drove 26 yards to set up Scobee's final field goal, which tied his previous career long and the franchise record.

Very little went right for the Bengals early.

They fell had a 69-yard punt nullified by penalty, dropped an interception, shanked a punt and had another one blocked.

The Jaguars had great field possession following the miscues, helping them score a touchdown and a field goal. They led 13-0 before the Johnson's touchdown reception.

‘‘We dug ourselves a hole with field possession in the first half,'' Lewis said. ‘‘We didn't play very well at the beginning of the game and we were playing up hill.''

Notes: The Jaguars extended the NFL's longest streak of not scoring at least 30 points to 54 games. … The Bengals were without three starters: Houshmandzadeh, S Madieu Williams (shoulder) and C Rich Braham (knee). … Taylor's last 100-yard game came last December, when he tore two knee ligaments against Green Bay.