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Notes: Firsts and hurts

The seven sacks allowed by the Bengals in Sunday's 38-10 loss to the Steelers are the most allowed in Marvin Lewis' six seasons as head coach. They've given up six three times, the last time against the Giants this season on Sept. 21. They gave up six to the Ravens in a 2003 loss and six to the Steelers in a Sept. 24, 2006 game they still won, 28-20.

It's the first time they've allowed seven sacks since the Paul Brown Stadium opener on Sept. 10, 2000, when the Browns got to Akili Smith seven times in Cleveland's 24-7 victory, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

On the other side the Bengals couldn't manage a sack against the NFL's most sacked quarterback over the past two seasons. The Steelers came into the game dead last in the league in allowing sacks per play, but the Bengals didn't get to Ben Roethlisberger once even though a right tackle was playing left tackle in Max Starks and left guard Kendall Simmons is done for the year with an Achilles injury.

J. Palmer
FIRSTS AND HURTS: No. 3 quarterback Jordan Palmer mopped up the last series in his NFL debut and completed three of four passes for 11 yards in becoming the 36th Bengal in history to throw at least four passes.

His first pass turned out to be rookie receiver Jerome Simpson's first NFL catch, a two-yard flip across the line of scrimmage that Simpson called "a facemask play," a reaction at the line.

Simpson came up limping with what he called "fluid in my ankle," but he left the locker room with what looked to be a pretty good gait.

He also returned an NFL kick for the first time, an eight-yarder, because fellow rookie receiver Andre Caldwell hurt his foot. Caldwell left the locker room wearing a familiar boot, but he said it wasn't the toe that knocked him out of the preseason for nearly a month.

"It's not the toe, it's part of the foot," he said and it's too bad because he averaged nearly 30 yards on three returns while subbing for Glenn Holt, injured himself with a sprained ankle.

Caldwell's long was 36 yards and he flashed the speed he's supposed to have.

"I was just doing what Glenn does and ran where the holes were," Caldwell said.

Running back Cedric Benson also had his first catch as a Bengal, making him and Simpson the 170th and 171st Bengals to have at least one all-time catch.

With Shayne Graham (groin) resting for a second straight game, Rayner hit the Bengals' first non-Graham field goal since Neil Rackers' 19-yarder in the 2002 finale in Buffalo, a stretch of 87 regular-season games. Rayner became the 13th Bengal to kick a field goal on his 26-yarder with 2:38 left in the third quarter that cut the lead to 17-10.

FITZ-RATED: Ryan Fitzpatrick held up pretty well under the intensity of Steelers coordinator Dick LeBeau's challenging scheme until his sack and fumble in garbage time (4:50 left) of a 31-10 game against the NFL's second-rated defense.

His passer rating of 81.1 is not one that should be underestimated. In eight regular-season games against the Steelers, Palmer has been in the 50s three times.

TOUGH ROAD: The '08 team has made the list again after the NFL's worst offense gained just 212 yards Sunday. It's the ninth lowest in Marvin Lewis' six seasons. Four of the Bottom 10 have happened this season (154 against Baltimore, 171 last week against the Jets, 211 against Cleveland).  

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