NFL: Interception costly in Cardinals' 19-13 loss
Glendale, Ariz. • Carson Palmer says the offense needs to be the "backbone" of the Arizona Cardinals.
There wasn't much evidence of that in their 19-13 preseason loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday night.
Because it was a preseason game, though, there wasn't much talk of confidence evaporating.
"I have all the confidence in the world in our offense and our entire team," Palmer said. "It's unfortunate. We wanted to play better. ... We'll take the good and beached on the bad and we'll move on and be ready to roll in two weeks."
Terrance Newman returned Palmer's interception 54 yards in the first quarter for Cincinnati's only touchdown.
"He pretty much threw it right to me," Newman said. "It wasn't like I did anything, just an errant throw on his part."
Arizona coach Bruce Arians said it was a miscommunication between Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald blamed himself.
"I didn't break across the corner's face and I've got to do that," he said, adding that he can't let the quarterback "hang out to dry."
But it will look like Palmer's mistake.
"'That's what it is in the quarterback's world," Arians said.
It was that kind of night for the Arizona offense against a Bengals' defense that ranked second in the NFL last season.
"We had a number of things that were just off," Palmer said, "from overthrows to missed opportunities, some funky things that happened on a couple of routes and some drops."
Mike Nugent added field goals of 48 and 36 yards for Cincinnati (1-2).
Jay Feely, competing with rookie Chandler Catanzaro for the Cardinals' kicking job, made a 24-yarder but missed from 48 yards. Catanzaro made a 23-yard attempt.
The Cardinals (1-2) got their lone touchdown on a 30-yard pass from backup Drew Stanton to rookie John Brown, who stretched out for a diving grab in the end zone with 1:29 left in the third quarter, tying it at 13-13.
Cincinnati backup Quinn Sharp kicked field goals of 34 and 51 yards after that for the deciding margin.
"We kind of gave it to a pretty good football team," Arians said, lamenting the missed opportunities, "and you just can't do that, especially at home."
The Bengals' Andy Dalton completed 13 of 21 passes for 183 yards. Palmer was 7 of 19 for 92 yards. Larry Fitzgerald caught five of Palmer's throws for 71 yards.
Both teams played their starters the entire first half.
Palmer was facing the team he was with for the first eight years of his NFL career before an acrimonious split sent him to Oakland. Dalton replaced Palmer as a rookie in 2011.
Bengals cornerback Leon Hall said "it means something to me, for emotional reasons I guess" to hold Palmer, his former teammate, without a touchdown.
"But really," Hall said, "I'd feel almost the same way regardless who we were playing. This was what they call a rehearsal game. ... This builds some momentum for (the opener against) Baltimore."
Bengals owner Mike Brown was taken to a Phoenix hospital before the game for what was termed a "minor" health problem. The team said he was to return to Cincinnati and did not attend the game.
Cincinnati inside linebacker Vontaze Burfict left the game in the first quarter with a hamstring injury.
On the Cardinals' second possession, it was third-and-7 from the Arizona 40 when Palmer fired a pass intended for Fitzgerald. But the errant throw went right to Newman, who evaded a couple of early would-be tacklers and outran everyone else to the end zone.
The Arizona starters' biggest offensive threat came on their first possession of the second quarter. The defense forced the Bengals to punt from their 6-yard line, giving the Cardinals good field position at the Cincinnati 41.
Statistically, at least, the Bengals' starters had the advantage, outgaining Arizona 198-141 in the first half.
"On defense, we had some negative plays," Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis said, 'but overall the effort and of course the point total was what you are looking for."
NOTES: Cincinnati DT Geno Atkins played two series, his first game action since tearing an ACL and missing the last seven games a year ago. ... Bengals rookie guard Trey Hopkins was carted off the field in the fourth quarter with a right shin injury. Moments later, wide receiver James Wright left via cart with a concussion. Guard T.J. Johnson became the third Bengal carted off the field in the fourth quarter. ... Arizona was without starting inside linebacker Kevin Minter (pectoral muscle) and guard Jonathan Cooper (toe).