TDBH: Boomer’s 490 pulls Sam, Bengals through OT win over Rams

Posted Oct 6, 2017

This Day in Bengals History - October 7 1990

ANAHEIM, Calif. - Quarterback Boomer Esiason ends the most bizarre week in Bengals history today when his team-record 490 yards featuring three different 100-yard receivers leads the Bengals to a 34-31 victory over the Rams in overtime and gets them off to a 4-1 start. Esiason admits after sifting the Rams on 30 of 44 passes that include three touchdowns for the tenth most prolific passing game of all-time that the celebrated matchup with Rams quarterback Jim Everett gets his juices jangling. He comes into the game with a mediocre seven TDs and seven picks and just 212 yards passing per game looking far from the 1988 NFL MVP.

Until now with the help of the Bengals’ vastly multiple offense. After losing leading wide receiver Eddie Brown to a knee injury during their first loss six days ago in Seattle on Monday night, head coach Sam Wyche turns tight end Rodney Holman and running back James Brooks into wide receivers and Holman responds with the biggest day ever by a Bengals tight end with 161 yards on 10 catches while Brooks adds 109 yards and two TDs on seven catches. Wide receiver Tim McGee chips in 142 more and it is his 27-yard catch in OT that sets up Jim Breech’s 44-yard field goal with 3:04 left. Esiason marvels how he threw the same route to Brooks and Holman during the game and how interchangeable they are. “It’s a burden taken off my mind,” Esiason says. “I’ve been waiting for something like this to happen …I felt like I could go out and play ‘thoughtless football.’ That is, just go out and play.”

Given that the game comes off amid more distractions than Super Bowl week, Esiason’s performance is even more amazing. It comes 24 hours after NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue hands Wyche the biggest fine for an NFL head coach in history when he docks him one week’s pay at a reported $30,000 for barring a female reporter from the locker room following the Monday night loss. And it comes 48 hours after Bengals president Paul Brown cajoles/threatens/coaxes Tagliabue out of hauling Wyche out of the preparations for the Rams game from their Seattle headquarters and bringing him to New York for a disciplinary hearing. “He’s tearing this team apart,” says center Bruce Kozerski of Tagliabue. Even though he’s in violation of NFL media policy, Wyche continues his crusade to defend his players’ modesty when he calls for a curtain to be placed between the showers and the lockers and for the players to greet the press only when they’re dressed. Wyche himself greets the media in a towel with a fig leaf wrapped around his coaching trousers. “This would be one giant step for mankind,” Wyche says of his long-range plan. For Esiason, who doesn’t always see eye-to-eye with his coach after spending the week fielding calls from “Nightline,” to “Prime Time,” is reinvigorated by his big day. “I feel good again,’ he says after football finally wins the week.

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