CINCINNATI — Terrell Owens isn’t acting his age.
The 36-year-old receiver has put some bite back into the Cincinnati Bengals’ offense, bringing them a big-play threat that was missing during their AFC North championship season last year. And he’s not at all surprised.
Owens caught a 43-yard pass along the sideline Friday night, setting up the starting offense’s only touchdown during a 22-9 preseason victory over the Philadelphia Eagles that showed he’s still got a lot left.
“I’m very talented, I keep myself in shape,” Owens said. “So everybody can think I’ve slowed down. If they want to play me like that, that’s fine.”
The Eagles couldn’t keep up.
Owens caught a perfect throw from Carson Palmer along the right sideline, stretching over Joselio Hanson to pull it in before going out of bounds at the 6-yard line. Bernard Scott ran it in on the next play for a 7-6 halftime lead.
Owens had three catches for 67 yards in the first half, and ran 1 yard on a reverse. He’s been the Bengals’ top receiver in three preseason games even though he’s still learning the play book.
“He’s as good as anyone when he gets on top of a corner,” Palmer said. “We’re going to take shots when we get opportunities.”
Cincinnati signed him to a one-year deal as training camp opened with receiver Antonio Bryant sidelined by a troublesome left knee. Palmer worked out with Owens on the West Coast in July, saw that he could still run and urged the Bengals to bring him aboard, giving him another playmaker.
That one play showed why.
“That’s what they brought me here for, right? Deep threat,” Owens said. “Beat your guy, get down the field, make the catch. We’ve got it all in our arsenal.”
His over-the-shoulder catch set up the only touchdown while both teams had their starters in the game. Cincinnati got the better of it in the half, but had to settle for the one score.
Philadelphia’s main goal was to get a touchdown out of its starters. In the preseason opener against Jacksonville, quarterback Kevin Kolb led the Eagles down the field on two possessions, but they had to settle for field goals.
Same thing again in Cincinnati. Six possessions, two field goals.
The Eagles kept their starting offense on the field for the entire first half and got less-than-desired results. Kolb was 11 of 17 for 126 yards, most of them in two drives at the end of the half when the Bengals began substituting. The most glaring disappointment: Philadelphia failed to score against a defense full of reserves after driving to a first-and-goal at the 7-yard line.
“We’ve got to be better than that,” Eagles coach Andy Reid said. “You can’t have the penalties in the red zone that we did.”
Kolb was disappointed at the lack of a touchdown.
“It’s the same story,” he said. “We need to do better.”
Palmer was 15 of 23 for 169 yards with two interceptions, both while trying to get the ball to Chad Ochocinco.
The Eagles played without cornerback Asante Samuel, who has a hamstring injury. Receiver Jeremy Maclin left in the second quarter after he was hit hard on the left shoulder. Reid said X-rays were negative.
The Bengals had a couple of injuries. Scott injured his left shoulder in the second quarter and didn’t return. Safety Gibril Wilson hurt his left knee in the second quarter and didn’t return. Agent Alvin Keels tweeted that he had damaged ligaments.