Bengals' Palmer Throws 3 TDs in Return




 
--
 
August 29th, 2006  
Team Infidel
 
 

Topic: Bengals' Palmer Throws 3 TDs in Return


http://abcnews.go.com/Sports/print?id=2368116

Bengals Star Quarterback Carson Palmer Has Successful Return From Knee Injury With 3 TD Passes

CINCINNATI - Carson Palmer aced the test. With a bulky brace protecting his rebuilt knee, the Cincinnati Bengals quarterback took the hits, avoided the rush and threw three first-half touchdown passes Monday night in his first preseason game of the year. </H4>By the time the Bengals jogged to the locker room with a 34-7 halftime lead over the Green Bay Packers, Palmer had convincingly made his case that he'll be ready to start the season opener.

He was that good.

"I can't say I felt real emotional," Palmer said. "It just felt like a business day, a chance to get some work in."

Showing no hesitation to take a hard tackle or take off on a desperate scramble, Palmer completed 9 of 14 passes for 140 yards and three touchdowns in the half. It felt like old times at jubilant Paul Brown Stadium when he pointed his right index finger to the sky in celebration after his second touchdown throw.

"He hasn't lost a thing," right tackle Willie Anderson said. "He's our leader, and he's back. That's got to make any Bengals fan feel real happy."

Unless his left knee swells up in the next few days, Palmer will be on schedule to start in Kansas City on Sept. 10, his goal all along during a grueling comeback from an injury that had overshadowed the franchise since a playoff loss to Pittsburgh.

"He dropped back, he rolled out, he got hit a few times, he had a chance to run the ball," coach Marvin Lewis said. "He looked very good, very sharp. It's still just preseason, but it's encouraging.

"I can't say I'm all that surprised. Maybe he was a little sharper than you'd expect, but we've seen him working every day for six months."

His long-awaited return was high drama for 64,000 fans who waved supportive signs and wore No. 9 jerseys. Palmer stood safely outside the huddle of jumping teammates before pregame drills.

When it came time for team introductions, the Bengals offense ran out as a unit. Palmer followed Anderson and center Rich Braham, entering the field through the same tunnel where he left on a cart following his knee injury Jan. 8.

The crowd screamed. The Packers won the coin flip. Palmer waited.

He finally got his chance after an interception set the Bengals up at the Green Bay 23 yard line. Palmer's first three plays were extremely conservative two handoffs and a short pass that was dropped.

The next two possessions ended with touchdown passes and ended all the worries.

His first completion of the game went to Chris Henry, who made a 66-yard reception on the play that ended with Palmer's injury against Pittsburgh. Kimo von Oelhoffen's shoulder drove into the side of Palmer's left knee after he released that playoff pass, shredding ligaments and dislocating his knee cap.

When Palmer let go of the ball this time, he got tackled for the first time since the injury. Green Bay's Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila hit him around the waist and took him down, a tame but telling tackle.

Palmer popped right up.

"It felt good to get hit and to know my knee could withstand the contact," Palmer said. "They can talk all they want about you being ready to go, but until you get hit, until you get pressure on the knee from another player, that's when you know you really feel confident about it."

Three plays later, Palmer hushed the stadium by scrambling 11 yards, then sliding safely on the side of his brace-hugged knee. A cheer of relief filled the stadium when he popped up again.

Then, Palmer started doing what he did all last season, throwing on-target passes that gave the defenders little chance. He threw touchdown passes of 6 yards to tight end Reggie Kelly, 33 yards to T.J. Houshmandzadeh and 15 yards to Tab Perry, each one right where it had to be.

After the second one, the usually serious Lewis shared a belly laugh with receiver Chad Johnson on the sideline, showing that any lingering concerns were gone.

For the first time in seven months, Cincinnati could laugh.
 


Similar Topics
Bengals' Palmer To Start Against Packers