Palmer's end of regulation results were better on his second trip to Giants Stadium but that couldn't stop the Bengals from falling to 0-3 as they dropped a 26-23 overtime decision to the New York Giants on Sunday. John Carney's 22-yard field with 8:39 left in the extra period won it for the defending Super Bowl champions, who improved to 3-0.
Palmer led the Bengals on scoring drives on each of the Bengals' final two possessions of regulation. His first touchdown pass of the season, a 17-yard throw to T.J. Houshmandzadeh gave the Bengals a 20-16 lead with 4:39 to play. He then led the offense on a 10-play, 71-yard drive that resulted in Shayne Graham's 21-yard field goal on the final play of regulation.
Each team punted on their first possession of overtime but the Giants got a 31-yard pass gain from Eli Manning to Amani Toomer on a third-and-10 play to set up Carney's chip shot. The Bengals blitzed Manning but were a step late in getting to him while Toomer benefitted from a blown coverage in the secondary.
The Bengals played without starting cornerback Johnathan Joseph, who was out with an ankle injury, and starting safety Dexter Jackson, out with a thumb injury. Second-year player David Jones started in Joseph's spot, while rookie free agent Simeon Castille stepped into the role of nickel back.
Palmer finished with 27 completions in 39 pass attempts for 286 yards and one touchdown for a 98.9 passer rating, although the Giants did get to him for six sacks that resulted in 41 yards of losses. Manning was 26 of 43 for 289 yards and a touchdown pass for the Giants, who did not allow a sack.
Houshmandzadeh caught 12 passes for 143 yards and the one touchdown. Last year's co-league leader in receptions entered the game with just six catches in the first two games.
The game featured seven lead changes, and neither team turned the ball over. The Bengals held a slight advantage on time of possession, 33:15 to 33:06.
The Bengals took a 3-0 lead on a 22-yard field goal by Shayne Graham with 38 seconds left in the first quarter, their first lead of the season. It was also the first time the Giants had trailed this season.
The Giants took a 7-3 lead on a 1-yard touchdown run by Brandon Jacobs, but the Bengals regained the lead on a 25-yard run by Chris Perry. It was Perry's second rushing touchdown in as many games. Perry rushed for 74 yards on 20 carries. He added 29 yards receiving with three catches.
The Bengals led 13-10 at halftime but the offense stagnated in the third quarter, netting 14 yards on 14 plays, and New York eventually took a 16-13 lead before Palmer heated up. He completed all seven of his passes on the drive that ended with his touchdown connection to Houshmandzadeh.
Manning was equally impressive.
After going 0-for-3 on third down conversion attempts in the first half, the Giants converted five of nine attempts in the second half and overtime. That included converting plays of third-and-14 and third-and-10 on fourth quarter scoring drives. Manning completed passes to Steve Smith on both instances. Manning's 4-yard touchdown pass to tight end Kevin Boss with 1:50 to play came on a third-and-goal play.