Whenever Esiason Delivered, Holman Was There to Receive : Bengals: Tight end becomes primary--but not sole--target after injury to wide receiver Eddie Brown last Monday.


When Cincinnati wide receiver Eddie Brown suffered a knee injury in last Monday night's game at Seattle, quarterback Boomer Esiason knew who his new main man was.

"I grabbed Rodney Holman and told him that with Eddie out, he better find a way to get open," Esiason said.

Holman found a lot of ways to get open Sunday, catching 10 passes for 161 yards in a 34-31 overtime victory over the Rams at Anaheim Stadium.

Holman, a 6-foot-3, 238-pound tight end, spent more time in the secondary than the Rams' defensive backs.

Esiason, who passed for a team-record 471 yards, eagerly delivered him the ball.

On a third-and-three situation at the Rams' 33-yard line with less than five minutes remaining in overtime, Esiason threw over the middle to Holman for an eight-yard gain. Four plays later, Jim Breech kicked a 44-yard field goal for the victory.

"It's like basketball," Holman said of his ability to get open. "When you have a forward who's hot, you give him the ball. That's what Boomer was doing with me."

But Esiason was getting the ball to nearly everyone.

Holman was one of three Bengals to have 100 yards receiving Sunday. Running back James Brooks had seven catches for 109 yards and two touchdowns, and wide receiver Tim McGee had eight receptions for 142 yards.

McGee, who faced double coverage most of the game, moved to Brown's position on the right side, next to Holman.

"We lacked a big-play receiver with Eddie out," McGee said. "So the Rams decided to key on me. I just let everyone else beat them.

"Putting me in Eddie's spot helped utilize my talents and Rodney's. When he and I are on the same side of the field, there's no way they could double-team both of us."

Holman agreed.

"We were sort of limited with what we could do with Eddie out," Holman said. "We had a lot of pressure on us to perform.

"But there's no way I can take all the credit for this. Next week, it might be Tim or James or Stanford (Jennings) who does it for us."

Holman, who had 131 yards receiving in the Bengals' first four games, entered Sunday's contest as the team's third-leading receiver behind Brown and McGee.

"Our offense was in a groove today," McGee said. "We have one of the best offenses in the league."

As for Holman, he enjoyed one of his best games since coming into the league in 1982.

It was the second consecutive game in which a Pro Bowl tight end has caused problems for the Rams' soft zone defense. Philadelphia's Keith Jackson had four catches for 77 yards in a victory two weeks ago.

"Rodney's one of those quiet giants," Bengal Coach Sam Wyche said. "He's an All-Pro player and person. For us to win, we had to have one of those games from him."

And Sunday, Wyche got both.

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