Behind Enemy Lines: Bengals

In the midst of the Bengals' euphoria about a 2-0 start -- just their second since 1995 -- the team still might not have fixed the run defense that was tied for 26th in the league last season.

The Bengals jumped out to a 14-0 lead after one quarter and 27-0 at halftime Sunday in a 37-8 win over the Vikings. Their quick-strike offense forced Minnesota to abandon its ground game.

The Vikings ran the ball just eight times after the first quarter. They might have been better off staying on the ground, even though the Bengals had a lead.

Minnesota rushed for 77 yards, but it had only 14 attempts. That comes out to a 5.5-yard average. In two games, the Bengals are allowing 5.4 yards a carry.

There is still trouble against the run, and the Bengals head to run-oriented Chicago on Sunday.

In Chicago's 38-6 victory against Detroit, the Bears ran 37 times for 185 yards and two touchdowns. Thomas Jones had 138 yards, and rookie first-round pick Cedric Benson had 15 attempts for 44 yards.

Against the Bengals, Minnesota's Michael Bennett had a 23-yard run, and Mewelde Moore went for 14.

"We had two runs on defense, but we've got to clean that up," coach Marvin Lewis said. "We're still understanding what playing 11 guys together means out there."

Player Notes

  • Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer has the fourth best passer rating at 107.8. He's one of the league's hottest quarterbacks. In his last five starts, four victories, he has 14 touchdown passes and just seven interceptions. Four times in those five games he has thrown for 250 yards or more. His 337 passing yards against Minnesota marked the second-highest total in his career.

  • Wide receiver Chad Johnson is tied for second with Baltimore's Derrick Mason with 16 receptions. He had a 70-yard touchdown catch on the second play against Minnesota and ended up with 139 yards for his 14th 100-yard game.

  • Defensively, Deltha O'Neal is tied for first with Chicago's Nathan Vasher with three interceptions. Even though the Bengals' other cornerback, Tory James, went to the Pro Bowl last season, O'Neal is their top cover man.

  • Kicker Shayne Graham is second in the league in scoring with 22 points.

    Injury Report

  • WR Chris Henry (foot) is questionable for Chicago on Sunday. He had four receptions in his NFL debut against the Vikings.

  • WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh (shoulder) was listed as probable for the Bears on Sunday. He has 10 catches in the first two games.

  • S Anthony Mitchell (injury unknown) is listed as questionable.

  • MLB Odell Thurman (thumb) is probable. He forced a fumble Sunday after getting his first interception the week before.

  • FS Madieu Williams (quadricep) is probable.

  • TE Reggie Kelly (quadricep) is probable. He is a key blocker in the offense that ran for 167 yards Sunday and is averaging 157.5 a game.

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