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TDBH: Rookies Curtis, Clark make Chiefs feel a draft

Posted Oct 20, 2017

This Day in Bengals History - October 21, 1973

A week after a huge win over the Steelers at home the Bengals return to Riverfront Stadium and announce they are in the AFC Central race for good when they raise their record to 4-2 with an eye-catching 14-6 victory in which they control the massive Chiefs defense with a stunning 354 yards. “That’s the first time we’ve beaten two good teams back-to-back since I’ve been here,” says fifth-year defensive tackle Ron Carpenter. “I know we beat some goods teams in ’69, but then we just sort of snuck up on them. After we beat Pittsburgh last week there’s no way we could sneak up on Kansas City.” First-round pick Isaac Curtis, a wide receiver from San Diego State, enjoys his first of 20 100-yard days as a pro with 106 while tying a team-record with eight catches. Running back Boobie Clark, a 12th-round pick out of Bethune-Cookman who is so new that Monday Night maven Howard Cosell calls him ‘Boo-Boo Clark,’ races for 104 yards and his second straight 100-yard day to lead a surprising 196-yard ground assault against the big, bad Chiefs defense. On the second play of the fourth-quarter on third-and-one, running back Essex Johnson, on the way to 92 yards himself, sprints outside a pinched-in Chiefs defense for his longest run in two years, a 46-yarder that sets up Clark’s TD and gives the Bengals a 14-6 lead.

“He’s some first-round draft choice and we’ve got a pretty good 12th one, too,” says head coach Paul Brown of Curtis. “When we get all the pieces together we’ll really have some fun.” The Bengals are waiting for wide receiver Chip Myers to get healthy, but until then they’ll take a punishing ground game and stingy defense that denies Chiefs quarterback Len Dawson from scoring a touchdown in the second half with cornerback Lemar Parrish’s end-zone interception, cornerback Ken Riley’s sack on third-and-one that forces a field goal, Carpenter’s recovery of a fumbled snap on the Bengals 1, and safety Tommy Casanova’s interception. Carpenter, who also has three sacks, gets the defense’s game ball in the locker room after the game while quarterback Ken Anderson insists every offensive lineman get one for their work against the huge Kansas City front. “That was great,” says center Bob Johnson. “We gave out six balls. That means we gave away 180 dollars worth of Paul Brown’s footballs.”

The icon doesn’t seem to mind. He’s thinking back to that first touchdown near the end of the first half that gives the Bengals a 7-3 lead on Pro Bowl tight end Bob Trumpy’s diving 30-yard catch that turns into a touchdown when he gets up and runs the final nine yards since the Chiefs apparently think he’s already down. It is a literal throw-back play, pulled from Brown’s days when he made Massillon High School a national power. “I guess you could say that old Massillon High School Special helped,” he says.   “We’ve used it before against Kansas City. They’re that kind of team. Other teams use stuff like that against them to loosen them up.”  Anderson runs right to hand off to Essex Johnson. Johnson hands it off to Curtis coming the other way who gives it back to Anderson. “That play has kept me in pro football,” Trumpy says. “We used it when I scored on them in 1968 and I think we got a long gain out of it in 1970.We did it against Los Angeles last year, too.”

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