Sunday, September 19, 2004
By Mark Curnutte
Enquirer staff writer
Polar opposites: The Bengals have not had a winning record since 1990. The Dolphins have not had a losing record since 1988. Against the Bengals, Miami will try to avoid its first 0-2 start since 1988, when it finished 6-10. Ronald Reagan was still president.
The teams also diverge in how they start seasons. Miami, including last week's loss, is 33-13 in games played before Oct. 1 since the start of the 1991 season. Counting last week's loss, the Bengals are 10-40.
Lights, camera, action
The Bengals are 12-26 and the Dolphins 60-37 in prime-time games.
The Bengals last played host to a prime-time TV game on Dec. 4, 1997, a Thursday night. They haven't had a Sunday night home game since 1996, an overtime loss to Tennessee.
They're No. 1s
Bengal Carson Palmer was one of an NFL record six overall No. 1 draft picks to start in openers. The others were Atlanta's Michael Vick, Buffalo's Drew Bledsoe, Houston's David Carr, Indianapolis' Peyton Manning and Dallas' Vinny Testaverde. Their teams went 1-5; only Vick's Falcons won.
Estimated number of Bengals offensive snaps in the 42 games between holding penalties called on right tackle Willie Anderson. Prior to the call against him last week - he held the Jets' Shaun Ellis, who had jumped offside and had a clear shot at Palmer - Anderson's last holding penalty was Oct. 28, 2001, at Detroit.
Quarterback Jay Fiedler is 36-18 as a starter but was booed every time he threw an incomplete pass against Tennessee a week ago. A.J. Feeley, who has a 4-1 NFL record in starts at Philadelphia, will start against the Bengals.
"Everyone wants to start, but if I don't, I'll do everything I can to help A.J. and be as prepared as possible in case I do play," said Fiedler, who spent part of training camp in 1996 with the Bengals.
First Ricky Williams retired. Then backup Travis Minor was declared out. And then Sammy Morris was downgraded to doubtful. Lamar Gordon, acquired in a trade from St. Louis on Sept. 9, will start tonight. On Saturday, the Dolphins signed second-year tailback Leonard Henry off their practice squad.
Miami leads the regular-season series with the Bengals 12-3.
The Dolphins have won nine games in a row against the Bengals. In the victories, the Dolphins have outscored the Bengals 233-116.
Miami also has won the only playoff game between the teams, a divisional-round game in 1973.
The Bengals won two games when they and the Dolphins were members of the AFL, in 1968 and 1969. The Bengals' only victory against Miami after the merger came in 1977.
Miami has a 5-0 edge in games played in prime-time against the Bengals.
The last meeting was Oct. 1, 2000, a 31-16 Miami victory, at Paul Brown Stadium in Dick LeBeau's first game as coach.
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