CINCINNATI (Ticker) -- It has been more than 15 years since the Cincinnati Bengals have hosted a Monday night game. But that finally ends when the Denver Broncos visit Paul Brown Stadium.
The Bengals have not hosted a Monday night game since a 21-14 victory over Cleveland on September 25, 1989. The club's last Monday night game was a 20-0 loss at Pittsburgh on October 19, 1992.
Cincinnati's Monday night dry spell has been the result of a 64-149 record since the start of the 1991 season. The Bengals have not reached the playoffs since 1990 and have lost 10 or more games in nine of the previous 13 seasons.
"They didn't give it to us; we earned it," talkative wide receiver Chad Johnson told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "It's cool."
It is the second home prime time game for the Bengals this season. They posted a 16-13 victory here over Miami on a Sunday night on September 19.
The way things are going, the Bengals probably shouldn't get too comfortable playing on the national stage.
Since the victory over Miami, the Bengals have dropped their last three games by double digits, losing by an average of 14.0 points.
In last week's 34-17 loss to Cleveland, the Bengals failed to cross midfield until the second half and managed just 189 total yards.
Carson Palmer has struggled in his first season as the Bengals' starting quarterback. He has completed just 54.7 percent (104-of-190) with four touchdowns and eight interceptions.
Palmer will have a major challenge against the Broncos, who rank second in the NFL in pass defense, allowing just 137.5 yards per game. Denver is first in total defense, giving up an average of 224.8 yards per contest.
The Broncos also look to have found their latest running back as Reuben Droughns has rushed for 369 yards and a touchdown in the last two games.
Droughns carried 38 times - a franchise record for a non-overtime game - and a touchdown in last week's 31-3 rout against Oakland.
Droughns could be salivating at the chance of facing the Bengals, who rank last in the league against the run, allowing 160.4 yards per contest.
Denver is seeking its first five-game winning streak since a six-game run in 2000.
The Broncos opened their 2003 season here with a 30-10 victory, overcoming three interceptions by Jake Plummer.
Matchup to watch: Bengals talkative wide receiver Chad Johnson, who sent Pepto-Bismol to members of the Browns secondary prior to last week, against left cornerback Champ Bailey. Bailey is regarded the NFL's best shutdown cornerback.