TDBH: Ex-semi pro fullback outclasses Chiefs

Posted Nov 23, 2017

This Day in Bengals History - November 24, 1974

For just the second time in the Bengals’ 48 all-time home dates they have to negotiate rain and they respond with a defensive torrent that holds the Chiefs to 34 rushing yards on 15 carries in today’s surprisingly easy 33-6 victory over the Riverfront Stadium rainbow. After his duel with fellow Hall-of-Fame coach Hank Stram, Bengals head man Paul Brown shakes his head reflecting on the Chiefs’ 42-34 victory just six days before against Denver. “I had no idea things were going to break open for us the way they did,” Brown says. “I saw these guys on TV Monday night and they looked like world beaters on offense. I just don’t get it.” The surprises keep coming. The Bengals look so good going to 7-4 as quarterback Ken Anderson closes in on his first NFL passing title with a drip-dry career-best four touchdown passes,  but no one has any idea this is their last win of the year when they finish out of the Wild Card race losing their last three games.

Yet today the Bengals flash their bench. They go into the game with just three running backs and when Charlie Davis leaves in the first five minutes after two carries with a sprained ankle, they are down to Lenvil Elliott and third-string fullback Ed Williams in his first NFL start. The 250-pound Williams, making $45 a game on the semi pro circuit two years ago, rumbles for 96 yards on 20 carries for the best Bengals’ rushing effort of the season. He also adds 50 yards on five catches that includes a 19-yard TD on a screen pass when guard John Shinners escorts him into the end zone. Williams’ straight-ahead style turns out to be the panacea for the Chiefs’ slanting 3-4 defense. “You don’t get any yardage standing out there and dancing around. I just like to take the ball and go,” Williams says.

Shinners’ candidate for player of the game is fellow guard Howard Fest in his near flawless first NFL start at center in the wake of Bob Johnson suffering a broken ankle. When the Bengals go with straight handoffs in the first half they pile up 27 first-half points and it’s too little too late when the Chiefs switch out of the 3-4 in the second half. “We had a less complicated offense this week and tried to keep the hard maneuvers to a minimum,” Fest says. “We tried to split their line out on the run and we had pretty good pass protection I thought.” Good enough that Anderson gets sacked just twice after hitting the deck six times the week before against Houston. Good enough that Brown gives Williams and Fest game balls after Anderson ties Greg Cook’s team record with those four touchdown passes and wide receiver Isaac Curtis catches two more touchdown passes (one as he comes out of the backfield) to set the Bengals’ single-season record with 10 TDs.

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