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Some fans wore bags over their heads in embarrassment during the loss to the Steelers, who had thousands of fans in the stands. At least one fan wore a T-shirt that said: Mike Brown Step Down. Fans headed for the exits early, leaving Steelers fans to twirl their Terrible Towels in celebration.
The game also reminded fans about the franchise's biggest problem: a lack of direction. The Bengals don't stay with a plan for very long, which leaves them in constant flux as at various positions.
They drafted quarterback Akili Smith in the first round in 1999, and discarded him before he had played an entire season. They took Chris Perry in the first round in 2004, saying he would eventually replace Rudi Johnson as their No. 1 running back.
Perry finally got the job this year. Less than halfway through the season, he has lost it because of poor production (a 2.6-yard average per carry) and five fumbles. Cedric Benson, signed as a free agent two weeks ago, started against the Steelers and ran for 52 yards. Now, no one knows where the franchise is headed at that important position.
Two losses into his career with the Bengals, Benson is starting to sound like one of them. Asked what happened against Pittsburgh, he was as mystified as everyone else.
"It's a little hard to put your finger on it," Benson said.
It only gets harder.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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