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Decisions loom

Updated: 7:30 a.m.



If the eyes of the second-largest crowd in Paul Brown Stadium history (second only to the Steelers game in 2005), weren't on the field, then they were on the sidelines looking for Pro Bowlers in right tackle Willie Anderson and kicker Shayne Graham.

Anderson, nursing an injured foot, says he'll be able to play Sunday in Cleveland. Graham wouldn't say he would, but at the end of the game he kicked like he could.

The fans weren't the only ones interested. Anderson had a steady stream of offensive visitors on the sidelines, such as running back Rudi Johnson and wide receivers Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh.

"Rudi kept coming up to me every two plays asking me if I was going back in," Anderson said. "I just reached a point that I felt Scott (Kooistra) would play better than me and there was some fear for my foot."

Anderson, who started his 113th straight game, hadn't taken a snap in a game until Monday and has only been practicing for about a week. He came out for good in the second quarter, but he doesn't seem worried because "this was my first preseason game," he said.

"I don't want people to think I'm just out there for some stupid streak," Anderson said. "I want to be able to play at a high level and help the team."

Graham reaggravated his hip injury suffered Aug. 27 in Atlanta when he was involved in the coverage of Ed Reed's return on a line drive that was his missed 53-yard field goal.

He went to the locker room, where he missed an extra point that was handled by punter Kyle Larson. That was a fun operation. Larson's holder was Ryan Fitzpatrick, the new backup quarterback, but Fitzpatrick's presence did reveal that he is officially the No. 2 quarterback.

Graham did admit he thought he was done for the night.

"There was some initial fear coming off the field, but once I came (into the locker room) and talked to the doctors, I didn't want to give myself much of an option," he said. "I told them there is nothing to keep me in this locker room."

Graham did come back to hit a nifty 23-yard field goal off a shaky hold, stroked a 40-yarder, and drove his last kickoff four yards deep into the end zone.

"We're going to do everything we can to take care of it," Graham said.

Graham did throw his helmet down when he seemed to hurt it yet again following his 40-yarder. The ensuing kickoff barely got to the 12 and when he seemed to double up, he then had to help stop B.J. Sams rampaging to a 47-yard return.

"I didn't handle the situation right," Graham said. "I was just frustrated. Everybody wants to be a part of the team and go out and do their role. ... My job is to keep calm."

But Graham isn't going to avoid making a tackle if he's out there, no matter his physical condition.

"I guess my legs are a long way from my heart. I'm not going to die," Graham said. "So I figured no matter how bad it was ... if I'm sitting there wincing in pain and that guy is running down the sideline, what good am I to the team?"

Some decisions loom for next Sunday. Does Anderson make his 114th straight start, and do the Bengals sign one of the two kickers they worked out last week, Josh Huston or Nick Novak?



CHAD BLOCK: Forget Chad Johnson's Hall of Fame blazer that he broke out after his 39-yard touchdown catch.

He was heavily involved in the winning touchdown when he helped spring wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh in the flat on a seven-yard touchdown catch. Johnson set his sights on his cousin, cornerback Samari Rolle, and got just enough of him to get Houshmandzadeh in on what amounted to a wide receiver screen.

"I was going to smack him in the mouth, but I got him in the ankles," Johnson said, and Houshmandzadeh said, "When I saw Samari jumping around Chad, I knew I could get it."

Johnson didn't talk much abut the blazer he donned on the sidelines, emblazoned with the Hall of Fame declaration of "20??."

But he did say it was tailored and offered, "Wait until you see what I've got for The Dawg Pound," referring to Sunday's game in Cleveland.

Johnson finished with five catches for 95 yards, but got shut out in the second half. Although he did draw a pass interference call on the key two-point conversion to set up running back Rudi Johnson's run for the points that made it 27-20.

"They went Cover Two and they confused us a little bit, and we had trouble running the ball," said quarterback Carson Palmer.

But, as Johnson said, "We're not going to play this (No. 1) defense every week."

Speaking of blocks, on the two-point conversion Rudi Johnson followed left tackle Andrew Whitworth and fullback Jeremi Johnson on a stretch play.

"JJ must have read my mind because he did exactly what I wanted him to do," Rudi said. "He went outside and sealed it off, and that's what I was hoping."



FLAG DAY: Both Madieu Williams and Ravens tight end Todd Heap were hit with game-changing penalties charged to them in the last drive. Heap had a tying touchdown catch wiped away because officials ruled he pushed off on safety Dexter Jackson.

"I was stunned. It's tough to have a call like that in that situation," Heap said. "I'm not calling the game. They (the officials) are and you have to go with what they call."

Asked if the call against him was a makeup call, Williams said, "I don't know if it was a makeup call, but I know it wasn't a penalty."

GAUGE CHECK: One reason for safety Ed Reed's amazingly easy 63-yard punt return, the first allowed by one of coach Darrin Simmons' special teams during his 66 games in Cincinnati?

How about sheer exhaustion? Because of the number of special-teamers that couldn't play Monday because of injury, Tab Perry not only took snaps as the No. 3 receiver, but he returned kicks as well as served as a gunner on the punt team.

It's going to be tough now for the Bengals to defend their NFL punt coverage title.

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