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TDBH: Fans’ Rumble in The Jungle helps lift Bengals to first post-season win

Posted Jan 2, 2018

This Day in Bengals History - January 3, 1982


The Bengals offer a steel-belted effort today in a tight, taut, well-played AFC Divisional game that sees the Bills come back from 14-0 and 21-14 deficits at Riverfront Stadium. But the Bengals stave off a late threat to win their first post-season game ever when running back Charles Alexander races for a career-high 72 yards and two touchdowns, record-setting tight end Dan Ross makes a catch in all four scoring drives as well as a third-down conversion on the clinching drive to lead the lethal passing attack with six catches for 71 yards, and the defense picks off quarterback Joe Ferguson twice in a 28-21 victory. “It’s been a long time and it’s sweet,” says 13-year cornerback Ken Riley, who played in the club’s three previous post-season appearances in 1970, 1973, and 1975 that were all one-and-done. NFL passing champion Ken Anderson (a crisp 15 of 21 for 192 yards and a TD) makes sure his offense doesn’t  don’t turn it over, either, but it’s the orange-and-black clad crazies whom call themselves “The Jungle,” that have a hand in lifting their team into next week’s AFC championship right here against the Chargers.

With 2:58 left and the Bengals clinging to a 28-21 lead after an Anderson-to-Cris Collinsworth 16-yard TD pass snaps a 21-21 knot, Ferguson converts a fourth-and-three on a 12-yard throw to wide receiver Lou Piccone that puts the ball on the Bengals 9. But the play is nullified by a delay-of-game penalty that Ferguson blames partly on the crowd noise blasting out of the north end zone.  Coming out of a timeout the Bills run Piccone and wide receiver Ron Jessie on the field late to match the shot-gun formation.  “The combination of that and the crowd noise and me having to slow down the enunciation of my cadence at the line of scrimmage probably caused the penalty,” Ferguson says. “(The crowd) had an effect. No doubt.” Bills running back Joe Cribbs is still steaming in the locker room after it’s overr “It was very unfair to us,” Cribbs says. “It could have been a legitimate call, but the crowd noise was so much. It was really difficult to even hear plays.  I thought it was a sad way to end a game as big as this on a controversial note.”

The 1981 Bengals display that balance of offense and defense and power and finesse making them the consensus best team in franchise history. They survive leading rusher Pete Johnson’s 45 yards on Alexander’s career day and just three combined catches from Collinsworth and Isaac Curtis when No. 3 receiver Steve Kreider makes the Bengals’ longest play of the day for a 42-yard catch on third-and-one. Two plays later Anderson hits Collinsworth for the winner with 10:39 left in the game. Meanwhile, Riley and Louis Breeden lock down the corners in man-to-man coverage against last year’s Pro Bowl receiver Jerry Butler and this year’s Pro Bowl receiver Frank Lewis. That forces Ferguson into a tough 15-for-31 day for just 202 yards and the old pro Riley gets one of the two picks: “It’s worth all the muscle strain of training camp. This makes it all worthwhile,” Riley says.

 

 

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