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Bengals and Saints likely to engage in shootout

Nov 14, 2006 - 10:47 PM Cincinnati (4-5) at New Orleans (6-3) Sunday 1:00 pm EST

NEW ORLEANS (Ticker) - The Cincinnati Bengals may be in for another shootout when they visit the New Orleans Saints on Sunday in an interconference contest.

The teams combined for 1,062 yards last week, yet both suffered losses.

The Bengals totaled 545 yards in a 49-41 defeat to San Diego. The Saints compiled 517 yards in a 38-31 loss at Pittsburgh. Carson Palmer, Drew Brees and Chad Johnson set career highs and Marques Colston added another impressive chapter to a brilliant rookie season.

Palmer passed for an NFL season-high 440 yards and three touchdowns, completing 31-of-42 passes in the loss to San Diego. Johnson caught 11 of those passes for 260 yards and two scores. No other wide receiver has a 200-yard game this season.

Saints cornerbacks Mike McKenzie and Fred Thomas will face Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh on Sunday.

Brees threw for 398 yards and one touchdown, completing 31-of-47 passes in the loss at Pittsburgh.

Once again, Colston starred for the Saints as well, setting season highs with 10 catches for 169 yards.

A seventh-round pick out of Hofstra and the 252nd overall selection, Colston has become the frontrunner for the Rookie of the Year award with 54 catches for a league-leading 869 yards and seven touchdowns.

That honor was supposed to go to Colston's teammate - Heisman Trophy-winning running back Reggie Bush, who was the second overall pick in the draft.

Along with sharing time in the backfield with Deuce McAllister, Bush has lined up in the slot as a wide receiver and returned kicks. He scored a 15-yard touchdown off a double reverse last week, leaping over safety Ryan Clark to reach the end zone. However, Bush also lost a fumble, leading to a touchdown for Pittsburgh.

Bush has averaged just 2.8 yards per carry, but has 53 catches for 352 yards this season.

The Saints have doubled last year's win total under coach Sean Payton and own a one-game lead over Carolina and Atlanta in the NFC South.

But Payton has reason to worry about a run defense that yielded 213 yards to Willie Parker last week.

Coach Marvin Lewis has plenty of reasons to worry about his defense. The Bengals squandered a 21-point lead and allowed 42 points in the second half of their loss to San Diego.

LaDainian Tomlinson rushed for four touchdowns and Philip Rivers singed Cincinnati's secondary for 337 yards and three scores.

The Bengals have lost three in a row and five of their last six to fall three games behind first-place Baltimore in the AFC North.

The teams last met in December 2002 and the Bengals posted a 20-13 win.

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