CINCINNATI — Chad Johnson caught a 70-yard touchdown pass on the game’s second play Sunday, and the Cincinnati Bengals had their way during a 37-8 victory over Minnesota that made a statement and raised a question.
Yes, the 2-0 Bengals think they’re for real.
“It’s right there in front of us,” said Johnson, who had seven catches for 139 yards. “This year we can do something special.”
And the 0-2 Vikings? Are they really this bad? So far, yes.
“We have a veteran group with a lot of pride, and we’re embarrassed with the way we’re playing,” said Daunte Culpepper, who threw a career-high five interceptions. “I’m determined to fix it. One thing we’ve got to do is stay together.”
The Bengals had it all over the Vikings, rolling up 337 yards and a 27-0 lead in the first half. Johnson topped 100 yards receiving before halftime, setting the tone for Cincinnati’s most lopsided win in three years.
The Vikings sank a lot of money into their defense in the offseason, bringing in Fred Smoot, safety Darren Sharper and lineman Pat Williams. They were helpless in the decisive first half — the Bengals didn’t even have to punt.
For the second consecutive game, the Vikings’ offense couldn’t get out of its own way. Culpepper had three interceptions and two fumbles in an opening 24-13 loss to Tampa Bay, and repeatedly forced passes against the Bengals — one of Deltha O’Neal’s three interceptions was in the end zone.
The Vikings offense set numerous franchise records last season with Randy Moss, and hasn’t been the same without him, scoring only one touchdown in two games.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.