That will likely linger through the offseason and only disappear if the Bengals are able to bounce back with a postseason appearance in 2007.
Still, Palmer couldn't deny feeling at least a small bit of satisfaction from being named Player of the Game after throwing two long touchdown passes to help the AFC to a 31-28 victory over the NFC in the Pro Bowl.
Palmer, who took the lion's share of snaps for the AFC, then secured his Player of the Game honors by leading the AFC on the winning drive, which ended with Nate Kaeding's 21-yard field goal as time expired.
"Both great routes, both long-developing plays," Palmer said of his touchdown passes. "You've got to have protection up front. In games like this, protection's always a scary thing just because defenses start to key on snap counts.
"But we did a great job of protecting and both of those guys ended up running great routes to get open."
"He's good," Wayne, who caught a game-high six passes for 137 yards, said of Palmer. "He's Carson Palmer. He's always one of the top guys in the league. It was great to catch a pass from ... I guess you could say the second-best quarterback in the league."
For Johnson, who also drew a 39-yard pass interference penalty to set up the winning field goal, catching a touchdown pass from Palmer is as natural as breathing.
"We just had fun," said Johnson, who finished with three receptions for 70 yards. "It's what we do during the season, so it's just a lot of fun to come out here and do it out here at the Pro Bowl."
"We're going to be fine," he said. "We've been thinking Super Bowl a long time, so it's going to stay like that."