Updated: 8-26-08, 11:45 a.m.
While T.J. Houshmandzadeh marveled at Carson Palmer's poise, Chris Perry said it can't happen again.
The lofty esteem his teammates hold Palmer could be seen in their discouraged faces Saturday night and heard in T.J. Houshmandzadeh's voice Monday when the Bengals reported back to work with their quarterback sidelined with a broken nose.
"Just to see all the blood coming from his mouth and nose, that was a sight to see to say the least," Houshmandzadeh said of the Saturday sack. "I guess Carson being the dude he is took it all in stride. There are quarterbacks across the league with the type of stature that Carson has, they would have went off.
"He's just water off a duck's back and 'Let's just keep it moving.' That's the type of dude he is, but I know other guys would have gone off to you all. He is not that type of guy."
Asked if someone should be mad enough to go off after a shaky preseason, he said, "It's a fine line. Being a coach is like being a psychologist. You've to know your players. You've got to know their buttons; how to push them. You know you can push certain guys. Everybody in here knows we play two weeks from yesterday, and got to get ready to go."
After Saturday's 13-0 loss to the Saints, offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski blamed the Carson Carnage on the running backs and tight ends for failing to pick up blitzes rather than the protection of the offensive line.
After the game, tight end Ben Utecht took the blame for safety Kevin Kaesviharn's sack, although it looked like Palmer got hurt when defensive end Bobby McCray finished him off coming around a pocket Kaesviharn penetrated.
"Everybody made mistakes," Houshmandzadeh said. "What Brat called 'critical mistakes.' "
Perry admitted, "I made some mistakes," but Bratkowski also made it clear that Perry's long layoff probably contributed to what is a skill that needs as much timing and preparation as running the ball. And Perry is a willing blocker.
"It's just as important because the key to the offense is the quarterback," Perry said. "I put it on my shoulders. I'm the last line of defense. I've got to make sure no is coming before I get out (for a pass). My first priority is to block, then get out second. I have to be patient and make sure everyone is gone before I go. ... I have to make sure I communicate with Ben and let him know what's going on. It falls on my shoulders as well."
Although Perry had just 36 yards on 12 carries Saturday, the team has to be thrilled the way he has physically absorbed the load that is now at 30 carries for 101 yards.
"I'm still walking," Perry said.