Huber hung a beauty in ugly conditions

The kick, which came with Huber standing at his own 2-yard line in wind-driven sheets of rain, was one of the key plays in the game and one his most clutch punts ever, as evidenced by the 33 questions he fielded about a single play.

“The wind was a little bigger factor than the rain,” Huber said. “If it was just a heavy, down-pouring rain, I would have been fine with that all day. But the wind with the rain, the wind definitely made it harder.

“I was hoping 45 yards, good hang time, good direction,” he added. “I’m not trying to kill the ball 80 yards. Obviously if went 80 yards it’d be great, but I didn’t want to go in with the mindset of ‘I want to kick this ball as far as I can.’ It’s like with golf. If you go in with the mindset of driving the ball as hard as you can, it’s probably not going to go where you want it to go.”

With the Bengals clinging to a seven-point lead and only two minutes left in the game, a poor punt in poor conditions could have put the Patriots in position to tie the game. But in addition to sending the ball nearly 70 yards in the air, Huber angled it toward the sideline and the coverage unit stopped returner Julian Edelman at the New England 35.

“Then the skies really opened and they couldn’t complete a pass,” Huber said. “That was nice.”

Court case: Monday was the first day of the assault trial of Bengals cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones, who is charged with assaulting a woman at a nightclub.

Jones has pleaded not guilty and was released on his own recognizance after the June arrest. He is accused of hitting a 34-year-old woman at a downtown Cincinnati nightclub. A police report listed the injury as minor.

The trial is expected to continue today.

Aside from the legal outcome, Jones could be punished by the National Football League under its conduct policy. He has had previous legal troubles and was suspended for the entire 2007 season and six games in 2008 following off-the-field incidents.

Debut review: Rookie defensive end Margus Hunt made his NFL debut Sunday and drew mixed reviews from head coach Marvin Lewis and defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer.

“He did OK,” Lewis said. “I’m very happy with Margus. He’s going to have a great future ahead of him. It wasn’t too big for him yesterday.”

Hunt was in for 40 of the 63 defensive snaps (63 percent). He didn’t have any tackles but recorded one quarterback hit and a couple of pressures.

“He did some good things, but there are things he needs to continue to work on,” Zimmer said. “It’s just the finishing. He gets to a point, and now ‘What do I do?’ We have to get him to the point where it just happens naturally.”

Dinner debt: No one in the stadium was happier with the way the Bengals defense played than rookie running back Giovani Bernard, whose fumble gave the Patriots the ball at the Cincinnati 44 with 3:26.

The Bengals held New England to a three-and-out immediately after the turnover and then thwarted the Patriots’ final drive with an Jones interception at the Cincinnati 3.

“The defense was able to hold on and help me out, so I guess I’ll have to be buying them lunch or dinner or whatever it is to thank them,” Bernard said. “This is one of the biggest team sports and they were able to help us out, and help me out especially. I have to give them a reward.”

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