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TDBH: Bengals win record fourth straight to share three-way AFC Central lead

Posted Nov 28, 2017

This Day in Bengals History - November 29, 1970


A month ago the Bengals were left for dead at 1-6. But after today’s 26-6 victory over the struggling Saints at Riverfront Stadium for their franchise-best fourth straight victory they move into a three-way tie with Pittsburgh and Cleveland at 5-6 atop an AFC Central Division that is having a wild inaugural season. The Steelers and Browns have defected from the old guard NFL to help form the division in the first year of the league’s merger with the American Football League, but it is the upstart Bengals in just their third season of life from the insurgent AFL that are causing all the commotion. Led by head coach Paul Brown in his seventh season since he was exiled by Cleveland and the old NFL his Browns once dominated, he has the Bengals three games away from becoming the youngest expansion team ever to make the postseason. “We’ve lost six in a row and now we’re in first place. Can you imagine our joy?” asks linebacker Bill Bergey after the Bengals keep a foe out of the end zone in a game for the first time in history. “We’re starting to play together. We’re starting to click together. And we’re getting higher every week. I don’t know if we’re smelling the green or if it’s our personal pride or what.”

Whatever it is it helps the Bengals bolt to a 13-0 lead in the first 6:06. Running back Paul Robinson, who ends up with 74 yards on 14 carries, puts the Bengals on the board right away when he follows up a 21-yard catch on a pass from quarterback Virgil Carter with a 28-yard sweep right for a touchdown. Then on the Saints’ second snap of the game, Bergey forces running back Tom Barrington to fumble, defensive lineman Royce Berry recovers, and Horst Muhlmann kicks the field goal. On New Orleans’ next series, Berry recovers another fumble on a blown handoff between Barrington and fellow back Jim Otis and Muhlmann kicks another field goal as the Bengals defense moves on to hold the Saints to 70 yards rushing.

Carter survives six dropped passes that include Pro Bowl tight end Bob Trumpy’s rare bobble in the end zone and his tipped ball that ends up as Carter’s only interception. Plus, Carter gets sacked three times and loses a fumble on the New Orleans 13. “It’s nice to win when so many of us were having bad days,” Carter says. “I think this game is going to be very important because it proves something.”  It proves no matter the league or the era, defense wins championships. “The Bengals defense looked like a typical Paul Brown team,” says Saints quarterback Bill Kilmer, who played against the first one. “They play well together and make a minimum of mistakes.” Ohio State’s Barrington, who grew up watching in Lima, agrees: “They look like the old Browns. They show you what they’re going to do and dare you to do something about it.”

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