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Final: Bengals 34, Raiders 10

The Raiders need a better team or an alarm clock.

The Cincinnati Bengals spoiled the homecoming of quarterback Carson Palmer Sunday, winning 34-10 at Paul Brown Stadium after taking a 24-0 lead at halftime.

It was the ninth straight loss for the Raiders in the eastern time zone, dating back to a 27-24 win in Pittsburgh on Dec. 6, 2009.

The Raiders, 3-8, actually threatened to make a game of it for a brief time in the fourth quarter, but a strip-sack fumble of Palmer led to a Bengals field goal and an “inadvertent whistle’’ erased a potential touchdown return of a fumble by Tyvon Branch.

Cincinnati, 6-5, piled up 289 yards of offense in the first half and had a 1-yard touchdown run by BenJarvis Green-Ellis, touchdown passes of 2 and 5 yards from Andy Dalton to Mohamed Sanu and a 55-yard field goal by Mike Nugent.

Green-Ellis rushed for 129 yards on 19 carries for the Bengals, including runs of 48 and 39 yards.

Palmer had trouble getting the ball downfield against the Bengals defense, completing 19 of 34 passes for 146 yards, a 20-yard touchdown pass to Denarius Moore and an interception. He received boos every time he took the field, having left the team after the 2010 season and demanding a trade.

Things got mildly interesting in the third quarter, during which the Raiders had been outscored 123-34 coming in to the game.

Instead, the Raiders got a 55-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski and the 20-yard touchdown pass from Palmer to Moore to get within 24-10.

The Raiders then got good field position at their own 44 after forcing a Cincinnati punt, with the possibility of getting within 24-17 early in the fourth quarter.

The Bengals reasserted themselves at that point, with Manny Lawson getting around rookie Tony Bergstrom for a strip sack of Palmer that was recovered by Cincinnati.

It led to a 20-yard field goal by Nugent, only after the Raiders tightened at the 1-yard line following a 39-yard run by Green-Ellis for a first and goal.

Later, Raiders cornerback Joselio Hanson appeared to flip a Sanu fumble back in bounds where it was picked up by Branch, who ran into the end zone while the Bengals stood and watched.

The ruling was an inadvertent whistle, with Cincinnati getting the ball back. The game degerated into a scrum midway through the quarter with Andrew Whitworth getting tossed along with Lamarr Houston and Tommy Kelly of Oakland.

Whitworth was the instigator, going after Houston when the Raiders defensive end hit Dalton following a false start.

Former Raiders coach Hue Jackson was on the field helping to play peacemaker.

After order was restored, Cincinnati finished a 12-play, 84-yard drive with a 7-yard pass from Dalton to Jermaine Gresham to remove all doubt.

The Raiders return for consecutive home games against Cleveland, Denver and Kansas City.

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer