34 - 13 Final
  for this game

Brady, Moss help undefeated Patriots pulverize Bengals

Oct 2, 2007 - 5:29 AM
CINCINNATI (Ticker) -- Tom Brady and Randy Moss continued to be in perfect harmony. The same can't be said for Carson Palmer and Chad Johnson.

The New England Patriots' star duo hooked up for two more touchdowns and Sammy Morris also ran for a score en route to a 34-13 victory over the bickering and undermanned Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night.

Linebacker Mike Vrabel also caught a TD for the Patriots (4-0), who continued to show off their high-powered offense. New England's attack entered Monday's play with 114 points - scoring 38 in each of its first three victories.

"Mike's a good athlete with good hands," New England coach Bill Belichick said.

Much of the Patriots' success can be attributed to Moss, who has been better than advertised, showing renewed life with New England since being acquired on draft day. The former Pro Bowler leads the NFL with seven TD receptions.

"Moss and Brady continue to work hard," Belichick said. "Randy has great hands, is smart and very instinctive."

Despite missing the entire preseason with a leg injury, the 30-year-old Moss has been spectacular, becoming the first player to crack the 100-yard receiving mark in each of his first three games with a new team before Monday, then he added nine catches for 102 yards to make it four in a row on Monday.

The 6-4 Moss made an acrobatic catch on a purposely underthrown ball by Brady, who took advantage of his receiver's size with perfect placement to make it 17-7 with 4:17 left in the second quarter - capping a 12-play, 62-yard drive.

"When you're 6-5 and have a 35-inch vertical leap, there aren't too many places a defensive back can defend," Brady said. "I just threw it up there. He never drops a pass; he has great body control. He commands double coverage and finds a way to beat it."

He also provided the final margin with a 14-yard touchdown from Brady to assure Cincinnati's third straight loss. Brady finished 25-of-32 for 232 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.

But the Bengals' Pro Bowl twosome did not work as well together. Down to New England's 20-yard line in the final minutes of the first half, Palmer threw an ill-advised interception - intended for Johnson.

As they left the field, Johnson - visibly upset - jawed at Palmer, apparently telling his quarterback that the play was run incorrectly. Johnson continued to be animated on the sideline - yelling, pointing and instructing Palmer as the teams headed into the locker room at halftime.

"I made a mistake," Palmer said. "I threw the ball into where I shouldn't have thrown it to. I got on Chad but I made a mistake. We're both passionate players, and in the heat of things, sometimes you lose your cool. I shouldn't have taken a check-down there. I got on Chad and I shouldn't have."

Palmer was 21-of-35 for 234 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions, and Johnson had three catches for 53 yards.

"I wouldn't call that fighting," Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis said. "We have guys that want to win. We just have to channel it in the right direction."

T.J. Houshmandzadeh had 10 catches for 100 yards and a touchdown for Cincinnati (1-3), which was missing two starting linebackers. Add in the fact that the team dressed just four because of a plethora of injuries and the Bengals spent the majority of the game playing with two linebackers - Dhani Jones and Anthony Schlegel - each of whom have been with the team less than a month.

However, Lewis did not use injuries as an excuse as an excuse for their poor performance, rather chastising his team for playing selfish.

"I'm obviously as upset as you can be," Lewis said. "We're down some guys but that's no excuse. We allowed a big run that got us behind the eight ball. Hopefully, we can settle some guys in on special teams. Offensively, we have to be more consistent. Defensively, we can't allow the explosive plays. It's disappointing where we are right now."

When asked what the players would see if they looked at themselves, he said "selfishness."

"It's a game of greed but you have to stay within the scope of what you're asked to do. It's not all about you every play and we have to understand that."