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TDBH: Anderson’s 20 of 22 slices Steel Curtain

Posted Nov 9, 2017

This Day in Bengals History - November 10, 1974


Ken Anderson announces himself as an elite NFL quarterback today when he sets two NFL passing records against one of the league’s most feared defenses in generations during the Bengals’ 17-10 victory over the Steelers at Riverfront Stadium. Working against the eventual Super Bowl champions, Anderson sets the NFL’s single-game completion percentage record of 90.9 by hitting 20 of 22 passes for 207 yards in the crucible of a key AFC Central match that pulls the 6-3 Bengals within a half game of 6-2-1 first-place Pittsburgh. No one has come close to 90 percent in a game. Ever. The Raiders’ Ken Stabler hits for 86 percent last year against the lowly Colts. But Anderson zaps a band of Pro Bowlers led by defensive tackle Mean Joe Greene. “He’s a very hard man to find,” Greene says. “I give him credit.”

Not only that, Anderson hits his first eight passes of the day after closing out last week’s win over the Colts with eight straight, giving him the NFL record with 16 straight completions, besting the 15 of Joe Namath and Len Dawson. Anderson slices and dices the rampaging Steelers with nine passes to running back Doug Dressler for 84 yards and his longest is a 32-yarder to rookie running back Charlie Davis with Pro Bowl cornerback Mel Blount riding his back. Davis adds a career-high 63 rushing yards and another rookie runner, 245-pound Ed Williams, a former part-time semi pro player and full-time janitor when he signs with the Bengals last year, scores both Bengals touchdowns on a day he experiences his third, fourth, and fifth NFL carries for a total of five yards. Throw in Tommy Casanova’s 74-yard punt return that sets up a field goal and that’s all they need. Steelers defensive line coach George Perles knows what he has just witnessed: “Anderson has great ability and is just about the best around. He’s quick mentally and physically. He eluded my guys today because he’s good. People might decry those short little passes, but they’re not easy to execute and he does it effortlessly. I admire him. There’s no sense saying he’s going to be great because he is that now.”

And it is all done in a typical Bengals-Steelers slugfest. In the third quarter Anderson scrambles to the Steelers 5, where the papers say safety Glen Edwards gives him round-house right that lays him out for 10 minutes and gets Edwards ejected. Back-up Wayne Clark hands off to Williams for the TD as Anderson says, “I don’t know anything about it. There was just ringing in my ears.” “About as cheap as they come,” says center Bob Johnson of the hit. Steelers head coach Chuck Noll, of course, disagrees. “I didn’t know he was that fierce of a thing. He’s about all of 175 pounds and he’s not allowed to tackle a 210-pound quarterback? Maybe it’s against the rules to tackle a quarterback in Cincinnati.”  Noll’s old coach in Cleveland, Bengals head coach Paul Brown, has the last laugh with one of the NFL’s rising stars. “This is the kind of day we’ve come to expect from Kenny,” Brown says. “He went to his secondary receivers most of the time. But just let those primary receivers get open next time and watch what happens.”

Ken Anderson announces himself as an elite NFL quarterback today when he sets two NFL passing records against one of the league’s most feared defenses in generations during the Bengals’ 17-10 victory over the Steelers at Riverfront Stadium. Working against the eventual Super Bowl champions, Anderson sets the NFL’s single-game completion percentage record of 90.9 by hitting 20 of 22 passes for 207 yards in the crucible of a key AFC Central match that pulls the 6-3 Bengals within a half game of 6-21-1 first-place Pittsburgh. No one has come close to 90 percent in a game. Ever. The Raiders’ Ken Stabler hits for 86 percent last year against the lowly Colts. But Anderson zaps a band of Pro Bowlers led by defensive tackle Mean Joe Greene. “He’s a very hard man to find,” Greene says. “I give him credit.”

Not only that, Anderson hits his first eight passes of the day after closing out last week’s win over the Colts with eight straight, giving him the NFL record with 16 straight completions, besting the 15 of Joe Namath and Len Dawson. Anderson slices and dices the rampaging Steelers with nine passes to running back Doug Dressler for 84 yards and his longest is a 32-yarder to rookie running back Charlie Davis with Pro Bowl cornerback Mel Blount riding his back. Davis adds a career-high 63 rushing yards and another rookie runner, 245-pound Ed Williams, a former part-time semi pro player and full-time janitor when he signs with the Bengals last year, scores both Bengals touchdowns on a day he experiences his third, fourth, and fifth NFL carries for a total of five yards. Throw in Tommy Casanova’s 74-yard punt return that sets up a field goal and that’s all they need. Steelers defensive line coach George Perles knows what he has just witnessed: “Anderson has great ability and is just about the best around. He’s quick mentally and physically. He eluded my guys today because he’s good. People might decry those short little passes, but they’re not easy to execute and he does it effortlessly. I admire him. There’s no sense saying he’s going to be great because he is that now.”

And it is all done in a typical Bengals-Steelers slugfest. In the third quarter Anderson scrambles to the Steelers 5, where the papers say safety Glen Edwards gives him round-house right that lays him out for 10 minutes and gets Edwards ejected. Back-up Wayne Clark hands off to Williams for the TD as Anderson says, “I don’t know anything about it. There was just ringing in my ears.” “About as cheap as they come,” says center Bob Johnson of the hit. Steelers head coach Chuck Noll, of course, disagrees. “I didn’t know he was that fierce of a thing. He’s about all of 175 pounds and he’s not allowed to tackle a 210-pound quarterback? Maybe it’s against the rules to tackle a quarterback in Cincinnati.”  Noll’s old coach in Cleveland, Bengals head coach Paul Brown, has the last laugh with one of the NFL’s rising stars. “This is the kind of day we’ve come to expect from Kenny,” Brown says. “He went to his secondary receivers most of the time. But just let those primary receivers get open next time and watch what happens.”

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