BY GEOFF HOBSON
The Bengals missed a huge chance to put the struggling Arizona offense out of the game midway through the second quarter here Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium.
Leading the Cardinals, 7-0, Bengals running back Corey Dillon ripped up the middle for an 18-yard touchdown run, but it was waved off when right guard Mike Goff was called for holding on Arizona strong safety Pat Tillman.
And the score stayed 7-0 when Bengals kicker Neil Rackers hooked a 36-yard field goal to the left, his seventh miss in 16 attempts.
Dillon went 57 yards the first time he touched the ball as Cincinnati jumped to a 7-0 lead on its first series of the game.
The Bengals' defense responded by holding the Cardinals to 56 total yards in the entire first quarter and punctuated their effort when defensive end Vaughn Booker and strong safety Chris Carter stuffed Cardinals running back Michael Pittman on a fourth-and-1 from the Cincinnati 34.
Dillon, who rushed for 73 yards in the first quarter, almost took it all the way right away.
Tillman prevented the touchdown when his diving tackle tripped up Dillon at the Cardinals 1.
Two plays later, Bengals quarterback Scott Mitchell executed a play-action fake and found wide-open tight end Tony McGee for a two-yard touchdown pass that was McGee's first touchdown of the season.
Mitchell got the call to start about two hours before the game, his first outing since he sprained the medial collateral ligament in his left knee on the Bengals' final offensive play of their 16-13 loss in New England two weeks ago.
Mitchell's 236 passing yards were the most productive through the air for Cincinnati this season, but he had to sit out last week's 48-28 loss to Pittsburgh.
Also before the game, the Bengals deactivated defensive end Reinard Wilson, wide receiver Ron Dugans and tackle Mike Doughty. It's the second time this season that Wilson, the club's first-round pick three years ago, didn't dress for a game this season.
With fellow rookie wide receiver Danny Farmer emerging over the past two games, Dugans, a third-round pick, has had trouble finding a spot because he's not a factor on special teams. Farmer had three catches for 59 yards last week against the Steeler team that cut him in training camp after picking him in the fourth round.