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Huber stands tall

Kevin Huber had an impressive Bengals debut. (AP photo)

Posted: 9 p.m.

Here's something else lost in the last-second mess. For the second straight kick against Denver in a span of 35 games, long snapper Brad St. Louis' accuracy cost the Bengals decisive points in a tight loss.

And it marred rookie holder Kevin Huber's superb debut in which five of his seven punts went inside the 20.

On Christmas Eve 2006 with 40 seconds left at Mile High, holder Kyle Larson couldn't handle a wide snap on an extra point in a 24-23 loss. Then on Sunday in a scoreless game with 1:51 left in the first quarter, St. Louis wheeled a snap behind Huber and like he did in Denver, kicker Shayne Graham was left to only chase it down.

Maybe Huber should have caught it, but even if he did he probably couldn't have put it down in time for Graham to kick the 28-yarder.

But like a good rookie, he took the blame.

"I should have caught the ball. I took my eyes off it too soon and the ball got past me. I can't have that happen. It's on me," said Huber, the fifth-round pick from the University of Cincinnati.

Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play? It marred Huber's superb outing in which five of his seven kicks went inside the 20, second only in club history to Lee Johnson's six on Nov. 2, 1997 at Riverfront against San Diego. Pat McInally had five inside-the-20 twice, at Green Bay in 1980 and at Riverfront against Cleveland in 1984.

The Broncos could muster just 17 yards on the seven punts, giving Huber a net of 37.3.

"That's my job. The coverage team did a great job getting down the field and kept the return team in check," he said.

Special teams coach Darrin Simmons wants to see the snap on tape, but he was disappointed in both St. Louis and Huber.

"It was high. It wasn't perfect. We do it enough that I expect perfection from them both and if he can get his hands on it I expect him to get it down," Simmons said.

But Simmons was pleased with how Huber responded with his foot. He would have liked to have seen a little more pop from midfield, but Simmons said it's hard to quibble with five inside-the-20. Huber was drafted as much for his tough mentality as his foot, and Simmons liked that part of it.

"I sat all three guys down (after the bad snap) and told them we had to move on because there were going to be some more big kicks," Simmons said. "And I know it was just an extra-point, but that was a big play for those guys when we needed it."

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