Bengals017100 -- 27Browns3703 -- 13

Cincinnati is finally off to a good start, hoping this is the year the team sheds its image as the NFL's lovable Bungals.

Carson Palmer threw two touchdown passes and the Bengals opened a season they're confident will be a winning one with an easy victory in Cleveland, spoiling Romeo Crennel's coaching debut with the Browns.

"We've got a lot of work to do," Crennel said. "I'm disappointed in the way everyone played. I'm not happy about anything."

The Bengals, meantime, haven't had a winning record since 1990. Now, in capturing their first opener since 2001, they're 1-0 for the first time in three seasons under Coach Marvin Lewis.

Bad starts have doomed Lewis's first two seasons with the Bengals, who began the past two at 1-4 before recovering to go 8-8. Cincinnati's favorable schedule -- its first six opponents went a combined 38-58 in 2004 -- have many believing the Bengals can challenge for the AFC North title.

Lewis isn't quite ready to proclaim his team anything other than improved.

"We are not off to a good start," Lewis said. "We just won one football game. We have a chance to write the script on what a good start is. We play Minnesota next week, and now that is our focus."

Palmer picked apart Cleveland's secondary, finishing 26 of 34 for 280 yards and one interception. He threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Walter just before halftime and connected on an 18-yarder to FB Jeremi Johnson in the third quarter as the Bengals built a 27-10 lead and coasted.

"It's a huge win for us," Palmer said. "Getting off to a fast start is what we wanted to do."

Palmer's only poor decision came on a pass he put up for grabs in Cleveland's end zone with 5 minutes 18 seconds left.


Cleveland: FG Dawson 29, 4:37.


Cincinnati: R. Johnson 1 run (Graham kick), 13:44.

Cincinnati: FG Graham 32, 8:46.

Cincinnati: Jackson 68 pass from Dilfer (Dawson kick), 5:03.

Cincinnati: Walter 20 pass from Palmer (Graham kick), :45.


Cincinnati: J. Johnson 18 pass from Palmer (Graham kick), 9:48.

Cincinnati: FG Graham 23, 8:24.


Cleveland: Dawson 34, 9:48.

Attendance: 73,013.

BengalsBrownsFirst Downs 2616Total Net Yards 420373Rushes-Yards 32-14818-95Passing 272278Punt Returns 2-182-20Kickoff Returns 4-1086-133Interceptions Ret. 2-301-0Comp-Att-Int 26-34-126-43-2Sacked-Yards Lost 2-80-0Punts 3-47.32-45.5Fumbles-Lost 2-13-1Penalties-Yards 5-407-56Time Of Possession 34:1325:47 RUSHING

Cincinnati: R. Johnson 26-126, Perry 5-11, C. Johnson 1-11.

Cleveland: Droughns 12-78, Green 4-12, Dilfer 2-5.


Cincinnati: Palmer 26-34-1-280.

Cleveland: Dilfer 26-43-2-278.


Cincinnati: C. Johnson 9-91, Houshmandzadeh 5-75, Perry 5-37, Walter 4-47, R. Johnson 2-12, J. Johnson 1-18.

Cleveland: F. Jackson 8-128, Bryant 5-65, Northcutt 4-16, Heiden 3-32, Droughns 3-22, Edwards 2-16, Faine 1-(minus 1).