Bengals are out for revenge

Palmer’s knee injury took steam out of Cincinnati as Steelers went on to win title

Cincinnati waited 16 years between playoff appearances. But after winning the AFC North last season, the Bengals saw all their hopes and dreams dashed when quarterback Carson Palmer went down with a knee injury in the AFC wild-card game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Pittsburgh, of course, eventually won Super Bowl XL. With Palmer out, the entire city of Cincinnati was left wondering what could have been.

Nine months later, it’s revenge time, even if the Bengals aren’t saying it out loud yet.

“We’re going to go to Pittsburgh and play a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers,” Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis said. “It’s a division game and it’s on the road. It’s an important football game and there are going to be 13 ones after that just as important.”

Fans clearly place a big importance on the game. During last week’s win over the Cleveland Browns, chants of, “We want Pittsburgh!” rang out through Paul Brown Stadium.

The Bengals have been without receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh so far this season, but Palmer (37-of-59, 479 yards) is on target, as are running back Rudi Johnson (241 yards rushing, three touchdowns) and receiver Chad Johnson (11 catches, 126 yards, one TD).

The Steelers, meanwhile, looked anything but super in their 9-0 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Monday. Their defense was strong enough, but quarterback Ben Roethlisberger completed just 17 of 32 passes for 141 yards and no touchdowns in his season debut after undergoing an emergency appendectomy just two weeks prior.

Worse yet, Pittsburgh’s typically smash-mouth running game was limited to 26 yards by Jacksonville’s defense.

With the Baltimore Ravens at 2-0, this is a must-win for the Bengals in the early battle for AFC North supremacy.

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