CINCINNATI (AP) -Ryan Fitzpatrick had only one practice to run the Cincinnati Bengals' offense before making his first start in three years. It quickly showed.
The quarterback from Harvard threw three interceptions and fumbled during a 20-12 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, looking very much out of practice. Things got better in the second half, when he threw a touchdown pass that kept it close.
There was an explanation: Carson Palmer takes virtually all the snaps with the starting offense during practice, leaving Fitzpatrick with little chance to get a feel for the plays. Palmer's sore passing elbow, which wasn't revealed until late in the week, left Fitzpatrick in a tough spot.
He faced the Browns trying to run some plays for the first time.
``There were a few plays I hadn't run during the week,'' Fitzpatrick said. ``But for the most part with that Friday practice, I got a lot of the plays that I was comfortable with. We called a lot of those, especially in the second half.''
ared if he has to start again on Sunday in Dallas, giving the Bengals (0-4) a better chance on offense. Palmer expects to play, but would sit out again if his sore elbow hasn't healed. A decision won't be made until late in the week.
``There's definitely a difference between me and Carson in terms of the type of quarterbacks we are,'' Fitzpatrick said. ``So if I'm playing or if it's up in the air, I think they'll have some stuff for me that's probably going to be a little different than what they'd have for Carson.''
Palmer has a stronger arm and much more experience at running Cincinnati's no-huddle offense. Fitzpatrick, obtained in a trade with the Rams before last season, is more adept at scrambling and throwing on the run. His 4-yard touchdown pass to Chad Ocho Cinco came on a rollout to his right.
Fitzpatrick will get more time in practice this week, working with a game plan that better fits what he does best.
``If Ryan Fitzpatrick is the guy as we go forward this week, we go into it a little differently,'' coach Marvin Lewis said. ``That's the way we'll have to approach it. More than likely, the coaches will have to prepare to play with Fitzpatrick, and everybody has to understand that. There will be some things that we can do differently, right from the outset.''
s getting beat up. Palmer has already gotten a broken nose, a sprained ankle, another bloody nose and the sore elbow, the result of his arm getting hit while throwing. Fitzpatrick was under constant pressure against the Browns.
An indication of the overriding problem: Fitzpatrick finished as the Bengals' leading rusher with 41 yards on four scrambles. Running back Chris Perry had little room and managed only 28 yards on 12 carries, a reflection on his blockers.
``I'm disappointed in how we played physically, particularly in the running game, more than anything,'' Lewis said.
Without a running game against the Browns, the rusty Fitzpatrick was in a tough spot.
``We have confidence in Fitz,'' receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh said. ``We didn't make enough plays around him to help him win the game.''
Fitzpatrick multiplied his problems by trying to compensate for the lack of a running game by doing too much.
``I think I fell into that trap, especially starting off with two three-and-outs,'' he said. ``And I haven't played in three years, so you never know when these opportunities are going to come along. I think in the back of my mind, that kind of crept in: I've got to get this thing going and make some plays. That's not my job.''

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