Tuesday, October 7, 2003

Notes: Lewis would take ball in OT again


Won't second guess choice after winning toss

By Mark Curnutte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis has been questioned for not taking the wind in overtime Sunday at Buffalo.

The Bengals won the toss and elected to receive. The Bills chose to play with the wind at their back.

The wind was blowing between 15 and 22 mph at Ralph Wilson Stadium. All but three of the 38 points were scored with the wind.

The Bengals did have their choice of whether to receive or kick, or which goal they would defend.

The Bengals failed to get a first down on their possession and punted 29 yards into the wind. The Bills scored a touchdown with the wind to win 22-16.

Lewis stood Monday by his decision.

"We had momentum in the fourth quarter. We had moved the ball," he said. "I felt really comfortable that we were going to win the toss. I told the guys on the sideline that we were going to have to go into the wind, so get ready for that."

In Game 11 last year, former Detroit coach Marty Mornhinweg won the coin toss in overtime against Chicago and chose to kickoff. The Bears drove 43 yards on 13 plays and kicked a field goal to win 20-17. Mornhinweg was criticized for the decision.

GETTING BACK: Tailback Corey Dillon, who missed Sunday's game because of a groin strain, worked out alone Monday in the Paul Brown Stadium weight room.

The Bengals hope to have Dillon back at or near 100 percent for the Oct. 19 game against the Ravens.

Wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh (hamstring) and linebacker Riall Johnson (calf) also should be healthy enough to play.

Houshmandzadeh, who has not yet played, would reclaim his role as third receiver from rookie Kelley Washington. Johnson injured his leg in Game 2 at Oakland and is valuable on special teams.

GUARD THIS: Mike Goff played the entire Buffalo game at right guard. Coaches had alternated Goff (first and third quarters) and Matt O'Dwyer (second and fourth) for the previous three games. O'Dwyer did not play.

STAT CHECK: Through five games, not counting Monday's game, the Bengals are ranked eighth in pass defense and 12th in overall defense.

The Bengals are ranked 15th in pass offense and 22nd in total offense.

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E-mail mcurnutte@enquirer.com




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