» Quarterback Carson Palmer and wide receiver Terrell Owens shared the blame for two untimely misconnections during the Bengals 22-14 loss Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium. With 3:20 left on first down, Owens had safety Chris Clemons clearly beat (again) by five yards in the end zone, but with Palmer getting hit by tackle Randy Starks slanting through the left side of the line, the ball hung up and behind Owens in time for Clemons to knock it away.
"We just didn't have enough time to get him the ball," Palmer said, and Owens said, "I put that on my shoulders. I have to find a way to adjust to the ball."
Palmer said the same thing about the game-ending interception a minute later when he led Owens too far inside the 10 and it landed right in cornerback Sean Smith's hands.
"It was a busted play," said Palmer, meaning the Dolphins anticipated the route and jumped it. "I was trying to throw him out of the route and he wasn't thinking the same thing I was. We missed it and it was completely my fault."
» It was as if Owens was looking for the genie in the bottle. He has now scored a touchdown in four straight games (he had two Sunday) and the Bengals have lost them all. He now has five touchdowns in four games, the first time a Bengals receiver has done that since T.J. Houshmandzadeh did it from Oct. 14-Nov. 4, 2007.
"If I were granted three wishes, I just wish we could start this over," said Owens of the 2-5 start no one expected. "The inconsistencies throughout the last four game is not consistent with the caliber of players we have on this team ... it's mind-boggling."
» For the first time since Palmer became the starting quarterback, the Bengals have gone 0-for-a-month. The Bengals went winless in October at 0-4 with a bye week on Oct. 17…When Palmer is healthy, they've only lost four straight once before, Sept. 16-Oct. 14, 2007, and there was a bye week in the middle of that streak as well. Palmer missed five games when they started 0-8 in 2008.
» As they always do, injuries seep into special teams. With starting cornerback Johnathan Joseph (ankle) and starting safety Chinedum Ndukwe (knee) shelved, Morgan Trent and Reggie Nelson were pressed into the starting lineup. They had been the gunners, the lead tacklers on punt coverage, but since they were playing from scrimmage the Bengals had to take them out and go with wide receiver Andre Caldwell and safety Rico Murray, just called up from the practice squad.
» Returner Davone Bess burned Caldwell on a 17-yard return up the left sideline when he overran the kick on a huge play at the end of the first half that led to Dan Carpenter's career-long 54-yard field goal at the gun that cut the Bengals lead to 14-12. Caldwell wasn't helped by Kevin Huber's poor 38-yard punt.
In fact, both Bengals kickers had their worst days of the season. Murray said the wind at the top of the stadium must have been much faster than the 11 miles per hour on the ground. Huber averaged 39.9 on nine kicks, and Nugent's three kickoffs went to the 17, 15 and 18. The kick to the 15 came after the Bengals went up, 14-6, with 2:41 left in the first half, and it was devastating. Murray, one of four new kickoff cover guys from last week because of all the injuries, had to make a touchdown-saving tackle on Patrick Cobbs at the Bengals 45 and that allowed the first of two Dolphins field goals in the final 58 seconds.
The irony? The Dolphins came in dead last in the NFL in kick coverage and the Bengals' best start was their own 33.
"It's all part of the game; you face it all the time," said special teams coach Darrin Simmons. "Guys go down and you have to help those guys get through from scrimmage and your guys on (special) teams have to step up and adjust and we didn't adjust well enough."
Nugent was shaking his head after the game.
"I just didn't hit it well," he said. "It was like hitting a whiffle ball."