CHARLOTTE, N.C. â€” Carson Palmer was far from sharp and made some head-scratching decisions. It was still good enough for Cincinnati against a struggling Carolina offense that rookie Jimmy Clausen couldnâ€™t jump-start.
Palmer shook off two interceptions to throw a game-clinching touchdown pass to Cedric Benson midway through the fourth quarter, and Benson rushed for another TD in the Bengalsâ€™ 20-7 victory over the Panthers on Sunday to spoil Clausenâ€™s first NFL start.
Cincinnati (2-1) snapped a five-game road losing streak despite a mistake-filled performance of turnovers and penalties in drizzly weather that included little explosiveness from the receiving duo of Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens.
But the Panthers (0-3) couldnâ€™t take advantage with Clausen throwing for 188 yards and the Panthers committing four more turnovers.
Jonathan Stewartâ€™s lost fumble set up Palmerâ€™s 7-yard TD pass to Benson â€” the running backâ€™s first career receiving TD â€” to put the Bengals ahead 20-7.
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