CINCINNATI -- Somebody named Johnson tormented the Texans again.
Still fuming over the way Chad Johnson guaranteed the Bengals' lopsided win last season, the Texans (3-6) were determined to shut him up in the rematch. The chatty receiver failed to score or do his promised touchdown dance.
The Texans couldn't keep the other Johnson -- the one that keeps quiet and avoids theatrics -- from doing just about anything he wished.
Corey Dillon's unheralded backup kept the Bengals (4-5) in contention in the AFC North and feeling rather full of themselves heading into a home game next Sunday against undefeated Kansas City.
"We will win -- that's a guarantee," Chad Johnson said. "It's no offense to their organization. It's just the way I feel. Some people might not like it, but I'm confident that my teammates won't leave me hanging.
"It should be the game of the week, the undefeated team against the new-era Bengals."
These Bengals are a lot more than just Dillon.
Inactive because of a strained groin, he wasn't even on the sideline as his backup quickly won over the Bengals' smallest home crowd of the season. The 50,437 fans chanted "Rudi! Rudi!" as he exploited holes in one of the league's worst defenses.
"They did whatever they wanted," Texans linebacker Jay Foreman said. "Anytime somebody runs the ball like that whenever they need to, it's just not good defense."
Unlike the other Johnson, Rudi kept his mouth shut and kept the celebrations simple. He simply flipped the ball to the official after his 17-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
He quickly headed to the bench after a 1-yard touchdown run put the Bengals ahead to stay 31-27 early in the fourth quarter. Johnson's 182 yards rushing matched Jon Kitna's passing total.
"The way the game was going, I felt 10 times better," said Rudi Johnson, who also topped 100 yards as Dillon's fill-in two weeks ago. "I knew I was doing something right and making things happen."
He surpassed Dillon's team record of 39 carries in a game in 1997 against Tennessee, when Dillon topped Jim Brown's rookie rushing record of 246 yards.
There were four lead changes in a game of contrasting styles. Johnson's runs kept Cincinnati moving slow-but-steady, while the Texans repeatedly made big plays to keep it close.
They had one last chance after Shayne Graham's 40-yard field goal made it 34-27 with 2:32 to go. David Carr's next pass was tipped and intercepted, ending the drama but not the torment.
Instead of kicking a field goal with 32 seconds left to pad the lead to 10 points, the Bengals went on fourth down from the 13-yard line. Kitna changed to a pass play, then threw to Chad Johnson, who slid into the end zone and jumped into the seats in a celebration that had to rankle the Texans.
However, the officials ruled Johnson down at the 1, and Kitna went to his knee after taking the next snap.
"The field goal wouldn't have helped, other than the fact that if we did not execute it right, we could have given them a chance to get back into the game," Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said. "So we chose to go for it on fourth down."
The Texans also challenged several of their team records.
Carr threw a 73-yard touchdown pass to Corey Bradford -- the third-longest reception in franchise history -- and Domanick Davis opened the second half with the longest run in team history, a 51-yard dash that set up another touchdown.
Carr, who sat out last week's game with a sprained ankle, was 11-of-25 for 146 yards. Twice he overthrew Bradford after the receiver ran past his defender, missing chances for touchdowns.
"We didn't score enough," Carr said. "You have to take advantage of the opportunities presented to you. It's frustrating."
- Houston's J.J. Moses had seven kickoff returns for 186 yards, and had a 47-yard punt return wiped out by penalty.
- The 27 points were the most ever scored by the Texans. The previous high was 24.
- Davis had 104 yards on 15 carries, his third 100-yard game in his last four.
- Despite Lewis' week of lobbying for fans to show up, the Bengals had 15,000 empty seats.
The Associated Press News Service
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