Losing Bengals get angry, antagonistic

C. Johnson rants

Houshmandzadeh disparages Ravens

Ravens 26 Bengals 20

Ravens Gameday

November 06, 2006|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Sun Reporter

What do the Cincinnati Bengals need more: a win or anger management counseling?

T.J. Houshmandzadeh is mad at the officials.

Carson Palmer is ticked off at Chris Henry.

Chad Johnson is furious with offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski.

And that's just the passing game.

At the midway point of the season, the Bengals find themselves a .500 team, two games behind the Ravens. A fourth loss in five games for a crew favored to repeat atop the AFC North made Cincinnati more entertaining in the locker room than it was on the field.

Johnson, the brash wide receiver, said he wasn't going to get into it.

Of course, he did, in an expletive-laced stream of consciousness that ridiculed the Bengals' performance and their play-calling.

"Two losses in a row," Johnson said. "We come in here with the same excuses, `Things are gonna get better.' Hearing the same [stuff], over and over and over, man. Excuses, excuses. We've got to stop with the excuses, put up some points."

Johnson passed Cris Collinsworth and Isaac Curtis to become No. 2 on the Bengals' all-time list for catches, but his bid to become the first player to lead the AFC in receiving yards four straight years lost traction.

He produced first downs with catches of 10 and 15 yards in the first quarter, but had two receptions the rest of the way, for a piddling 7 yards.

"You're supposed to be the best player, you can't even get the ball," Johnson said. "I don't give excuses, I just go get the job done. All of a sudden, there's a problem this year. ... And when I complain, I'm selfish. Maybe I lost a step. Maybe I should retire, like Tiki [Barber]. Man, I'm not losing no step.

"I'm past frustration, I'm like ... there's no word for it."

Johnson nonetheless found a few more.

"You have to be given opportunities to make plays," Johnson said. "Four [catches] for 32 [yards], that's ridiculous. You've got to be kidding me. When Christmas comes around, I might as well be a hood ornament, because all I've been so far is a decoration - a decoration sitting out there real pretty, ready for people to jump on."

The Bengals converted one of 10 third downs. On their first, Palmer went to Johnson over the middle. The ball went off his fingertips, then he got smashed in the mouth. Johnson took a knee as Samari Rolle and Ed Reed turned Rolle's interception into a 49-yard return and 14-0 lead.

Two years ago, Palmer threw for a career-high 382 yards as Cincinnati rallied to win at M&T Bank Stadium. Visions of a third straight win in Baltimore for the Bengals ended when they didn't get an interference call on Ronnie Prude, which led to a helmet-throwing tantrum from Houshmandzadeh.

In the final minute, Palmer blew up at Henry, who had jogged to a Hail Mary pass that Chris McAlister intercepted.

"I don't want to talk about what happened to two players on the field," Palmer said of another spat the Bengals took public. "That's none of your business. It's between Chris and I."

Has coach Marvin Lewis, the defensive coordinator on the Ravens' Super Bowl championship team, lost control of the Bengals? Does he have a playoff team, or a team in denial?

Just as Lewis shrugged off the significance of the fumble Chris Perry lost on the opening kickoff, Houshmandzadeh refused to give the Ravens any credit.

"We play Baltimore again. I know they beat us today, but they just scored more points than we did," Houshmandzadeh said. "We know we're better than Baltimore, and they know it."

paul.mcmullen@baltsun.com

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