CINCINNATI, NOV. 4 -- Craig Heyward and Rueben Mayes ran the Cincinnati Bengals right out of their long-awaited homecoming.
Heyward and Mayes each rushed for more than 100 yards and a touchdown today at Riverfront Stadium as the New Orleans Saints were 21-7 winners in the Bengals' first home game in six weeks.
The Saints (3-5) overpowered the Bengals -- ranked No. 27 in NFL defense -- by rushing for a season-high 249 yards. Heyward supplied the inside muscle, carrying 19 times for a career-high 122 yards. Mayes took the corners, rushing 30 times for 115 yards.
It was only the third time in Saints' history that two backs have topped 100 yards in the same game.
"Craig did great inside and I ran off-tackle," said Mayes, whose six-yard touchdown gave New Orleans a 14-0 second-quarter lead. "We were just kind of running everywhere. There was an air of confidence. When we started doing that with our running game, their defensive line was saying, 'Here they go again.' "
The Bengals (5-4) shuffled their linebackers and their defensive alignments to try to stop the rushing game -- without success.
"We couldn't stop their run," said Bengals Coach Sam Wyche. "That's fact. They bowled over us at times."
In the first half, the Bengals lost strong safety David Fulcher for four to six weeks with a separated right shoulder. "When things start going bad, they stay bad," Fulcher said.
The Bengals had to go on the road when the Reds got into the World Series, causing the site of a home game to be switched and giving them five straight away games. They hoped their return home would inspire their defense and get their offense to stop its erratic performances.
"I don't think I've ever felt this low as a professional athlete," said Bengals quarterback Boomer Esiason, who completed 15 of 32 for 132 yards. "Today it's right on my shoulders. I feel that if I play 10 percent better than I did, we probably win the game. I have no excuses."