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THE NFL PLAYOFFS : AFC PLAYOFF NOTES : Now Bengals’ Brooks Says He Knew He Would Play

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Bengal running back James Brooks, who ran 11 times for 26 yards and caught one pass for 22 yards, had said earlier in the week that he wouldn’t be playing against the Raiders.

“I knew the whole week I was going to play,” Brooks said after Sunday’s 20-10 loss to the Raiders. “They asked me, and I said I wasn’t going to play. It was something to do . . . I get a kick out of stuff like that.”

Brooks had suffered a dislocated thumb against Houston the week before and said the large bandage on his thumb would prohibit him from playing effectively.

“Those guys (Raiders) knew I was going to be there,” Brooks said. “They were talking to me on the field. . . . All week long Max (Montoya) was telling everybody I was going to play. He knew me.”

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Brooks said his thumb didn’t bother him while running with the ball, but he said it hurt when he made his pass reception.

“It hurt so bad I could hardly see,” Brooks said.

Defensive end Howie Long of the Raiders suffered a broken right thumb in the second half but returned to the field after getting it wrapped on the sideline. He is expected to play next week.

The Bengals’ only touchdown came when quarterback Boomer Esiason improvised.

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In the fourth quarter, Esiason took the snap from center and was immediately challenged by Raider defensive end Greg Townsend.

“The only reason I was eluding Townsend was because I called the wrong protection,” Esiason said. “He thought he had me, but he didn’t.”

After sidestepping Townsend, Esiason looked for wide receiver Eddie Brown, but he was covered.

“I could have gone to Tim McGee, but Stanford Jennings was closer to me,” Esiason said.

Jennings made a diving catch of Esiason’s pass.

Safety David Fulcher of the Bengals was asked if the running of Marcus Allen and Bo Jackson might let the Raiders beat the Bills in Buffalo in Sunday’s AFC championship game.

“All I know is, when you’re playing in warm weather all the time, and then you go into the cold like that, it could be tough. Real tough.”

The Raiders outgained the Bengals in total yardage, 389 to 182. The Raiders had 235 rushing yards. Quarterback Jay Schroeder completed 11 of 21 passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns. He was intercepted once. Boomer Esiason, who was suffering from flu, completed eight of 15 passes for 104 yards and one touchdown. He was sacked four times for 46 yards. . . . Ickey Woods led the Bengals with 73 yards in 11 carries. . . . Ethan Horton led Raider receivers with 77 yards in four catches. . . . Greg Townsend had three of the Raiders’ four sacks. Howie Long had the other.

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Times staff writer Chris Dufresne contributed to this story.


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