Bears-Bengals Notes

The Bears offense showed signs of life against the Lions thanks to the help of a strong running game. While in Cincinnati, the Bengals have more offensive weapons than they know what to do with. The latest news on several players, including injury updates on both teams.

BEARS PLAYER NOTES
  • QB Kyle Orton avoided mistakes in his second NFL start. The rookie posted a passer rating of 103.3 while throwing his first NFL TD pass, a 28-yarder to Muhsin Muhammad.

  • QB Jeff Blake saw his first regular-season action for the Bears, mopping up in a 38-6 rout of the Lions. Blake completed hiss only pass attempt for an 11-yard gain

  • RB Thomas Jones bounced back big time from a lousy opener with 139 yards on 20 carries, including two impressive touchdown runs of 16 and three yards, muting any talk of rookie Cedric Benson taking his job.

  • RB Cedric Benson got a much bigger dose of playing time than expected, carrying 16 times for 49 yards, including a 19-yarder as the Bears were able to pound the ball and dominate possession time.

  • WR Muhsin Muhammad, who had an NFL-best 16 TD catches last season, had his first TD as a Bear, a 28-yard toss from Kyle Orton. Muhammad was hammered after the catch by Kenoy Kennedy but shrugged it off.

  • WR Justin Gage had only one catch for 21 yards but it was an impressive reception in traffic, barely inbounds, and he landed flat on his back but held on to the ball.

  • WR Mark Bradley had one catch for nine yards, but the Bears only attempted 22 passes.

  • TE Desmond Clark caught two passes for 19 yards and had five receptions on the year but with a long of just 11 yards.

  • PK Doug Brien connected on his first FG attempt as a Bear, a 48-yarder from the right hash, but he missed his next two, 48- and 36-yarders from the left hash. His kickoffs were a little deeper than in the opener and the preseason.

  • DE Adewale Ogunleye had an MRI Monday on his sprained left ankle. Although coach Lovie Smith said he expected Ogunleye to be on the field this week, he missed practice on Wednesday and is listed as questionable for Sunday.

  • CB Nate Vasher had two interceptions and how had three this season and eight in 18 NFL games.

  • MLB Brian Urlacher had two sacks Sunday and is tied for the NFL lead with three this season. He has not had more than six in a season since his rookie year of 2000.

    BENGALS PLAYER NOTES

  • QB Carson Palmer joined Ken Anderson (1973-74) and Boomer Esiason (1997) as the only Bengals quarterbacks to have five consecutive games with a passer rating of more than 100. In his past five games, Palmer is completing 74.9 percent and has 14 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

  • QB Jon Kitna is the person, Palmer has said, who taught him more than anyone about playing quarterback in the NFL. Kitna continues to play a key behind-the-scenes role in Palmer's quick development as a star.

  • RB Rudi Johnson had 90 rushing yards against Minnesota, pushing the Bengals' record to 11-3 when he has at least 90.

  • RB Chris Perry can no longer hide. He showed his speed on a swing pass that he turned into an 86-yard touchdown. It was called back because of a holding penalty. Coach Marvin Lewis called Perry the team's third receiver. Perry has nine catches for 70 yards.

  • WR Chad Johnson has checked off two opposing cornerbacks -- Cleveland's Gary Baxter (who did not play) and Minnesota's Fred Smoot -- as being unable to cover him. Johnson has a list in his locker. Next on the list is Chicago's Jerry Azumah.

  • WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh is the perfect No. 2 receiver in the Bengals offense. As a more mature person, he helps keep former college teammate Chad Johnson (Oregon State) somewhat in check. Houshmandzadeh also scored twice against Minnesota, one with a catch the other on an end-around. He is deceptively fast because he is a smooth runner.

  • WR Chris Henry made his NFL debut Sunday against the Vikings and had four receptions, two good for first downs. But he is questionable for Week 3 at Chicago with a foot injury.

  • TE Matt Schobel continues to make the most of his limited opportunities as a receiver in the Bengals offense. Having upgraded his blocking to get more snaps, Schobel caught his ninth career touchdown pass against the Vikings. His other catch Sunday was a 28-yard good for a first down.

  • K Shayne Graham leads NFL kickers in scoring with 22 points. Now perfect in five field goals this season, Graham is 54 of 61 in 34 games with the Bengals. His squib kickoffs and effective directional kicks helped limit the Vikings to a subpar 12.6-yard average on eight kickoff returns.

  • CB Deltha O'Neal had the finest overall game of his NFL career. He had three interceptions of Daunte Culpepper, made nine total tackles and batted down another five passes.

  • S Kevin Kaesviharn had an interception and fumble recovery in the Bengals' takeaway feast against the Vikings. They had seven and are now plus-7 to lead the league in turnover differential.

  • LB Odell Thurman continues to give the defense spark and personality. He added six tackles to his week 1 total of seven, as well as a forced fumble to his debut game interception. Still, coach Marvin Lewis has instructed Thurman to tone down his exuberance with the media in post-game settings.

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