Neil Lomax atoned for an early fumble by throwing touchdown passes of 27 yards to Earl Ferrell and 25 yards to Roy Green, taking the St. Louis Cardinals to a 41-27 National Football League victory today over the Cincinnati Bengals.
Neil O'Donoghue kicked two field goals for St. Louis, the first putting the Cardinals ahead to stay, 17-14, as time expired in the first half. The outcome, sealed by short touchdown runs by Stump Mitchell and Perry Harrington in the second half, left St. Louis with a 2-0 record. Cincinnati fell to 0-2.
Lomax, who completed 17 of 31 passes for 250 yards, was stripped of the ball when sacked by Jeff Schuh on the Cardinals' first play, Tim Krumbrie recovering. Ken Anderson passed to second-year running back Stanford Jennings from the St. Louis four for a touchdown on Cincinnati's fourth play.
But Anderson and Larry Kinnebrew later missed a handoff and David Galloway recovered at the Cincinnati 39. That led to Ferrell's touchdown catch and a 7-7 tie.
After Anderson and Eddie Brown combined on a 44-yard touchdown pass play to give the Bengals a 14-7 lead, the Cardinals went 63 yards, scoring on Ottis Anderson's one-yard run. Anderson (89 yards, 20 carries) also had runs of 16 and 12 yards in the drive and receptions of nine and 12 yards.
O'Donoghue's 46-yarder at the gun made it 17-14, St. Louis, at the half.
"It was a lot of effort by a hell of a lot of guys. We had to play an effective defense, and the guys did," Cardinals Coach Jim Hanifan said. "They had some adversity and fell behind and yet they bounced back and got right back in the ballgame."
Lomax made it 24-14 by finding Green behind cornerback Louis Breeden in the third quarter. Jim Breech kicked a 33-yard field goal to make it 24-17, but O'Donoghue countered with a 49-yarder. Breech came back with a 47-yard kick to make it 27-20 at 13:23 of the final quarter.
St. Louis then went 89 yards. Lomax teamed with Mitchell on a 42-yard pass play that helped set up Mitchell's one-yard touchdown run. It became 41-20 when third string running back Harrington scored from the one for the Cardinals.
"We called a couple of things and saw what they were doing," said Lomax. "After that, it was almost routine. I'm going to take what they give me. If they want to blitz, they're going to pay the price."
Anderson, after passing for only 112 yards, gave way to backup Turk Schonert late in the third quarter.
Third-string quarterback Boomer Esiason teamed with Kinnebrew on a 29-yard pass to give the Bengals a consolation touchdown with 52 seconds remaining. The drive covered 75 yards in six plays.
Cardinals cornerback Lionel Washington suffered a broken right ankle in the closing minutes and will be lost six to eight weeks.