TDBH: Bengals riddle Ravens with 24 in fourth to end road drought

Posted Dec 4, 2017

This Day in Bengals History - December 5, 2004

BALTIMORE - Shayne Graham's last-play 24-yard field goal caps the Bengals' swashbuckling 27-26 victory over the Ravens after Cincinnati drives 60 yards in the final 1:42 and overcomes a 20-3 fourth-quarter deficit for what Marvin Lewis says is the biggest victory of his two seasons as head coach. It is not only the Bengals' first win in Baltimore since Nov. 3, 1996, it also marks their second biggest road comeback since they rallied from 18 points down in that 24-21 win eight years ago at old Memorial Stadium when Lewis ran the Ravens defense in their first season. Maybe even more importantly for a coach re-building a program, it is their first win on the road against a winning team in 14 years. "This is bigger than the Kansas City win last year," says Pro Bowl right tackle Willie Anderson, who also says game No. 138 is the biggest win in his NFL career. "This has to be the biggest. It has to be the biggest because of how we did it and in a place where we've never won against a team in our division that we're kind of modeling ourselves on."

The Bengals take particular satisfaction in rolling up 453 yards of offense against the NFL's best-scoring defense.  "After the game, you didn't see their defense," says center Rich Braham, who along with Anderson is the only Bengal who knows what it is like to win in Baltimore. "They just left the field. I think they were just stunned."  It is also a watershed victory for the young Bengals quarterback and his franchise as Carson Palmer throws for a career-high 382 yards in getting career days from wide receivers T.J. Houshmandzadeh (171 yards on 10 catches) and Chad Johnson (161 on 10 catches) to fuel a 24-point fourth quarter.  Palmer pulls them within 20-17 when he whistles a 12-yard touchdown pass past the NFL's co-interception leader Ed Reed into the arms of Chad Johnson with 10 minutes left. Palmer then gives the Bengals a 24-23 lead with five and half minutes left when he pump fakes to the left and hits Houshmandzadeh on the right for a nine-yard touchdown pass.

But everyone agrees the game's biggest play comes on the second snap of the last drive on second-and-18 from his 26. Palmer leaves the pocket in a scramble and as he rolls to his left against the grain he sees Houshmandzadeh sticking to his route on that side and he lofts a 32-yarder to him in front of the Ravens bench.  It is such a stunning performance that after the game Willie Anderson seeks out quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese. "I told Zampese, 'Your boy came through today,' " Anderson says.” Just his demeanor in the huddle. Not only to do it on the road, but to play that way against a defense like that. It's huge."  Not only does Palmer log career highs in completions (29) and passer rating (127.1), he does it against a pass defense that comes into the game allowing the league's lowest rating at 62. Not only does he rifle three touchdown passes in a span of 9:17 against a defense that has allowed seven touchdown passes for the whole season, but he also does it against a defense that has allowed just 22 passes of 20 yards or longer as Johnson and Houshmandzadeh become the first pair of Bengals 100-yard receivers since wide receiver Tim McGee and tight end Rodney Holman did it against the Rams in 1990. "I think a lot," says Palmer, when asked how much he grew today. "It was a fun game to be in. You're down, facing adversity. We came firing back. I'm confident regardless of the situation in every fourth quarter."


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