Henry, Ohalete out
By GEOFF HOBSON
December 18, 2005

DETROIT - The Bengals tried to nail down their first AFC North title here Sunday at Ford Field on a day that began with head coach Marvin Lewis making one of those decisive decisions that has marked his three-year run at turning around the franchise.

Lewis deactivated rookie wide receiver Chris Henry against the Lions in the first game since Henry’s arrest on a possession of marijuana charge early Thursday morning. Also down because of injury is strong safety Ifeanyi Ohalete (ribs), giving Anthony Mitchell his first start in 25 games as a Bengal. Also out is defensive tackle Matthias Askew as Lewis chose to counter the absence of injured Carl Powell (neck) with rookie Jonathan Fanene.

Kelley Washington, inactive for the last five games, took Henry’s spot as one of the five receivers as the NFL’s fourth-ranked offense tried not to miss a beat against the struggling Lions. The Bengals came into the game winners of five of their last six and three in a row in racking up their first 10-win season since 1988, but with Pittsburgh holding a 10-3 halftime lead in Minnesota it looked like the Bengals needed to win Sunday to take home their first title since 1990.

The Bengals came into their first game at Ford with a seven-game winning streak over the NFC that features victories this year over Minnesota, Chicago and Green Bay. They picked off each of those teams five times for 15 of their NFL-leading 27 interceptions.