Brown Strikes Early, Helps Bengals Win

From Associated Press

Eddie Brown was slow to sign with Cincinnati this season, but he brought some quickness back to the Bengals' sputtering offense once he did.

Brown, fresh from a contract holdout, scored a touchdown on his first catch Sunday, sparking Cincinnati to a 41-10 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Bengals' offense, ranked No. 1 last year in the NFL, sputtered without Brown in the exhibition season and in an opening loss to Chicago.

"We don't have a missing link in our offense now," said Brown, who signed a four-year, $3.6 million contract last week.

Cincinnati Coach Sam Wyche said Brown's impact was felt beyond the touchdown catch.

"As soon as you put a guy like Eddie in, you've got an extra dimension," Wyche said. "You've got to respect him and cover him and play soft and all the other things that go with being a great player."

But the Steelers (0-2) weren't up to it.

Brown snuck behind the Steelers' defensive secondary for a 27-yard touchdown that put the Bengals ahead to stay in a 17-point second quarter.

The Steelers never recovered, suffering their second straight one-sided loss. The Steelers were drubbed by Cleveland, 51-0, last week, their most lopsided defeat in the franchise's 57-year history.

Cincinnati (1-1) ran its home-field winning streak to 11 games by building a 20-3 halftime lead and wearing down Pittsburgh in the second half with James Brooks' running and Boomer Esiason's high-percentage passing.

Brooks became the Bengals' main ground weapon in the second half when Ickey Woods twisted his ankle. Brooks had 113 yards in 20 carries and a touchdown.

Esiason completed 16 of 27 passes for 328 yards without an interception, including a 39-yarder to Brown in the second half. Brown left in the third quarter after pulling groin muscles but isn't expected to miss any playing time.

"We played extremely well," Esiason said. "Everybody got involved."

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