Sunday, October 22, 2000
Dillon's 278 yards breaks Payton's mark;
Bengals break into win column
By The Associated Press and The Cincinnati Enquirer
An incredulous Corey Dillon dropped to his knees, drove his facemask into the ground and prayed while jubilant teammates dumped containers of water and Gatorade on his back. The icy shower and the NFL record were both quite a jolt.
QB Scott Mitchell dumps Gatorade on Corey Dillon after Dillon broke the NFL rushing record.
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Dillon ran for an NFL-record 278 yards Sunday and broke two long touchdown runs in the closing minutes that secured the Bengals' first win, 31-21 over the Denver Broncos.
He didn't realize he'd topped Walter Payton's single-game mark until he reached the sideline and the record was flashed on the scoreboard and announced to the crowd.
I'm still in shock, said Dillon, who also topped Jim Brown's rookie record in 1997. I still don't believe it. From how I was running, I didn't see that I had that many yards. I was just out there trying to get 4 yards.
Dillon's scoring runs of 65 and 41 yards in the final five minutes put him ahead of Payton, who had 275 yards against Minnesota on Nov. 20, 1977.
Dillon runs for his second TD.
(Steven M. Herppich photo)
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The breakaway runs also put the final stiff-arm on the biggest rushing game by an NFL team in 50 years. The Bengals (1-6) completed only two passes none after the first quarter but set a team record by rushing for 407.
It was the fifth-highest rushing total in league history and the most since the New York Giants churned out 423 against Baltimore in 1950. Akili Smith and Scott Mitchell were a combined 2-of-9 for 32 yards, tying the team record for fewest completions.
Back when I was in high school I think we had some games like that, Mitchell said. I guess if you stay around long enough, you'll see everything. I saw something new today.
So did the Broncos (4-4), who had the league's second-toughest run defense. No team had run for more than 123 yards this season against a defense giving up an average of 65 per game.
Dillon reacts after hearing he'd broken the record
(Steven M. Herppich photo)
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Dillon left them lunging and gasping.
We focused on him all week long and he still did a tremendous job, safety Billy Jenkins said. When you let a guy set an NFL record against you, that's the epitome of embarrassment.
Dillon repeatedly cut back and found big holes against a defense caught flat-footed by his moves. He had six runs of at least 30 yards.
Their defense was overpursuing in some cases and they gave me the opportunity to cut it back, Dillon said. I just tried to make a big play and ended up with 278.
Peter Warrick also tore off a 77-yard touchdown run, the longest ever by a receiver against the Broncos.
Dillon celebrates with long-suffering fans.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
Corey Dillon now has two of the top six rushing games in NFL history:
278 Corey Dillon (22), Cincinnati, vs. Denver, 2 TDs, Oct. 21, 2000.
275 Walter Payton (40), Chicago, vs. Minnesota, 1 TD, Nov. 20, 1977.
273 O.J. Simpson (29), Buffalo, vs. Detroit, 2 TDs, Nov. 25, 1976.
250 O.J. Simpson (29), Buffalo, vs. New England, 2 TDs, Sept. 16, 1973.
247 Willie Ellison (26), Los Angeles, vs. New Orleans, 1 TD, Dec. 5, 1971.
246 Corey Dillon (39), Cincinnati, vs. Tennessee, 4 TDs, Dec. 4, 1997.
243 Cookie Gilchrist (36), Buffalo, vs. New York Jets, 5 TDs, Dec. 8, 1963.
237 Jim Brown (31), Cleveland, vs. Los Angeles, 4 TDs, Nov. 24, 1957.
237 Jim Brown (34), Cleveland, vs. Pittsburgh, 4 TDs, Nov. 19, 1961.
237 Emmitt Smith (30), Dallas, vs. Philadelphia, 1 TD, Oct. 31, 1993.
237 Barry Sanders (26), Detroit, vs. Tampa Bay, 0 TDs, Nov. 13, 1994.
Denver had appeared headed for an easy afternoon after a dominating opening drive: 80 yards in 12 plays culminating in Brian Griese's 1-yard pass to a wide-open Detron Smith.
When Mike Anderson ran 3 yards untouched for a 14-3 lead in the second quarter, fans booed and the Bengals seemed to be finished.
We had the mindset to get out to a lead and blow them out and embarrass them, but they killed us, said Griese, who completed 30 of 45 passes for 365 yards.
The momentum turned on the next play from scrimmage. Warrick lined up in the slot, took a handoff going right, reversed his field and followed Smith's lead block for the longest run by a rookie receiver since Joey Galloway went 86 yards in 1995 against Jacksonville.
I just seen everybody shifting to one side, and I looked back and said, "Yeah, this could happen right here,' Warrick said.
Smith blocked Terrell Buckley for 55 yards as he and Warrick raced side by side down the sideline.
I saw Buckley out there and had the feeling if I could block him, he (Warrick) could take it all the way, said Smith.
It was certainly a play that showed we were in this game and that we were going to be in this game for 60 minutes, said Dick LeBeau, who got his first victory in his fourth game as Bengals head coach.
By the second half, the Bengals had abandoned any hope of throwing. Smith left after taking a sack and pinching a nerve in his neck on the third play of the second half.
Dillon took it from there. He ran through Buckley's attempted tackle for a 30-yard gain that set up Cincinnati's first second-half touchdown of the season.
In their first six games, the Bengals scored only 37 points, three in the second half. They scored four touchdowns Sunday, one more than their offense's total for the first six games. They scored 21 points in the second half.
All-time NFL rushing games (team)
426: Detroit vs. Pittsburgh, Nov. 4, 1934
423: NY Giants vs. Baltimore, Nov. 19, 1950
420: Boston vs. NY Giants, Oct. 8, 1933
408: Chicago vs. Brooklyn, Oct. 20, 1935
407: Cincinnati vs. Denver, Oct. 22, 2000
Bengals' best rushing games (team)
407: Oct. 22, 2000, vs. Denver
300: Dec. 7, 1986 vs. New England
279: Dec. 12, 1999 vs. Cleveland
276: Dec. 4, 1997 vs. Tennessee
274: Dec. 8, 1985 vs. Dallas
Much of the blame for the Bengals' poor start had been placed on the team's inability to consistently run the ball. But just about everybody in a Bengals uniform had a productive rushing day Sunday.
Warrick, who had one of the two pass receptions, ran for 90 yards on three carries.
Brandon Bennett ran seven times for 19 yards and the touchdown.
Smith had 12 yards running.
Even Mitchell, the oversized quarterback who's not a threat to run, had a nine-yard gain on a naked bootleg.
Everybody was focused and determined, Dillon said. Everybody was fed up with being stepped on.
I'm just thrilled to say I was a part of it, right guard Mike Goff said. We aren't done proving to the league what we can do. I'm sure a lot of people are going to say this was a fluke or something.
We're pleased we won and that Corey had a special day. It was really something you don't see that often, Bengals president Mike Brown said Sunday night. We needed a win.
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