Led by Johnson, Bengals' Offense is Hot

While the Cincinnati defense hit rock bottom Sunday at Cleveland, following a solid opener against Baltimore, the Bengals offense looks like it could kick into another gear this season. Among the hottest Bengals is their biggest showman, wide receiver Chad Johnson. He leads the NFL in receiving yards with 304, chasing his second consecutive title.

Johnson is bidding for a fifth straight title in the AFC. Randy Moss of New England is second in both the AFC and NFL with 288 yards.

Johnson is already the only NFL player to have led the AFC or NFC four years in a row. Since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, which created the conferences, only two other players have led a conference even three years in a row. Those two were Tim Brown of Oakland (AFC) and Jerry Rice of San Francisco (NFC), each from 1993-95.

Johnson's 1,369 yards last year led the NFL. He became the first Bengal to lead the NFL in the category.

Through Week 2, Johnson's 11 catches and 209 yards from the Cleveland games are the NFL highs for the year.

With the hot start, Johnson also jumped last week into the Bengals' all-time lead in receiving yards. He needed 82 to surpass Isaac Curtis and end up with 209. It is easy at this point to ponder if anyone else will ever wear this crown.

"Chad's going to shatter this record," quarterback Carson Palmer said of the seventh-year pro receiver. "He's just getting started."

With his single-game career-high tying 11 catches at Cleveland, Johnson raised his career total to 482 He ranks second in Bengals history, and is now 49 away from passing all-time leader Carl Pickens (530).

PLAYER NOTES

--QB Carson Palmer leads the NFL with eight touchdown passes. He continues to improve his mastery of the no-huddle offense and regularly reads defenses correctly at the line of scrimmage to put the offense in the best play possible.

--RB Rudi Johnson, despite a 100-yard effort at Cleveland, has raised concerns by losing a fumble in each of the first two games.

--TE Reggie Kelly has just two receptions for 21 yards in the first two games. But his teammates and coaches know Kelly's value does not rest in stats. He is considered one of the best teammates in the locker room and a vital part of the high-scoring offense because of his selfless play and excellent blocking.

--WR Chad Johnson has 482 career receptions and needs just 49 to pass Carl Pickens (530) as the leader in Bengals franchise history.

--WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh is tied for the early NFL lead in receptions with 17, sharing the top spot with Randy Moss of New England and Javon Walker of Denver.

--DE Robert Geathers, like the rest of the defense, did not play well in Cleveland. With a new contract that makes him one of the top 10 highest-paid players on the team, Geathers needs more games like the opener, when he had a sack and an interception.

--LB Ahmad Brooks, despite some missed assignments now and then, was missed in the Cleveland game. He left early with a groin strain that might make him limited in practice when the Bengals hit the field Wednesday. Brooks makes plays, and his 260-pound body is an asset in run defense.

--CB Johnathan Joseph remains slowed by the aftereffects of a fractured foot suffered in early June at minicamp. He missed a handful of tackles against the run in support and after Cleveland receivers made catches.

--WR Tab Perry will miss the Seattle game with a hamstring strain. Fellow wide receiver Glenn Holt will be counted on to work as the team's No. 1 kickoff return man, third receiver and gunner on punt coverage. The Bengals are playing several regulars on special teams in the hope of reversing a slow start.

--WR Antonio Chatman (hamstring) could add another weapon to Carson Palmer's offense Sunday when he is expected to play for the first time since last year. Chatman, injured early in training camp, is expected to practice fully for the second week in a row. The Bengals need all the healthy bodies they can get.


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