CINCINNATI Rain pelted Brock Berlin's face as he settled in for his first regular-season snap in the NFL, calling signals in misty breaths.
From that moment on, it got wetter and worse.
Rudi Johnson ran 1 yard for a touchdown, Shayne Graham kicked four field goals on a nasty day, and the Cincinnati Bengals took advantage of the St. Louis Rams' novice quarterback for a 19-10 victory Sunday.
Neither team had much fun on an afternoon more suitable for holding a clipboard than throwing a football.
A steady, often driving rain on a 38-degree afternoon made it tough to throw, catch or hold onto the slick footballs not what the Rams (3-10) wanted on a day when they were down to their third-string quarterback.
Berlin, a former Miami Hurricane and Florida Gator who entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent, got to play because injuries wiped out the Rams' top two options. Marc Bulger sat out a second straight game with a concussion, and backup Gus Frerotte was sidelined by an injury to his passing shoulder suffered last Sunday.
That made it easy on the Bengals (5-8), who needed only to contain running back Steven Jackson and avoid mistakes to get a win. They were barely able to do it.
Fakhir Brown intercepted Carson Palmer's first pass of the second half and returned it 36 yards for his first career touchdown, cutting it to 10-7. Jackson ran 18 times for 91 yards and caught four passes for 26 yards.
It wasn't enough.
The Rams' chances rested with Berlin, who learned after practice on Thursday that he might get a chance to make his debut in his third NFL season.
Berlin stood alongside teammates with his hands in his pouch while the defense was introduced before the game. On the first play, defensive end Justin Smith hit Berlin as he released the ball, resulting in a floater that was caught by a diving Torry Holt. On the next play, Berlin tripped over a lineman's foot and fell to the rain-slicked artificial turf.
Bengals safety Dexter Jackson repeatedly anticipated Berlin's snap count and blitzed, making it into the backfield in the blink of a rain-soaked eye. He caused a fumble by hitting Jackson while he was taking a handoff, and twice dropped the running back for losses.
Jackson also intercepted Berlin's desperation pass with 1:38 to go.
Berlin was 17-of-28 for 153 yards. Season-long injury problems at quarterback and the offensive line have taken a toll on the Rams' offense, which has scored fewer than 20 points nine times.
For the second week in a row, the Bengals struggled to move the ball in a steady rain. They lost to Pittsburgh 24-10 in the muck at Heinz Field last Sunday night, essentially scuttling their season.
Graham made field goals of 27, 38, 32 and 46 yards, rescuing an offense that has trouble completing drives. His first kick came after Rams cornerback Ron Bartell dropped a potential interception in the end zone.