TDBH:Dillon, Bengals close down Riverfront in a rush

Posted Dec 11, 2017

This Day in Bengals History - December 12, 1999

While fans honor what had been in the last 30 years, the Bengals wonder what might have been in today’s rainy and foggy final game ever at ghostly old Riverfront Stadium that goes down as a 44-28 rout of expansion Cleveland. After ripping the Browns for 168 yards in the Bengals’ last-second win at Cleveland back on Oct. 10, running back Corey Dillon almost matches it in today’s first half at re-named Cinergy Field on the way to rampaging to 192 yards on 28 carries with 3:15 left in the third quarter. That’s when running backs coach Jim Anderson asks him if he wants to go back in and get 200 yards. Dillon says yes, but head coach Bruce Coslet says no and keeps him out the rest of the way in an effort not to rub it in the noses of a division rival. “There’s a thing called sportsmanship,” Coslet says. Dillon takes him off the hook with “I’m not a greedy or a selfish person. I wanted (backup) Michael Basnight to have a run at it anyway.” Right tackle Willie Anderson reminds, “We’re not going to run it up on them and play them twice a year.” And they won’t have to wait long. The two teams will open state-of-the-art Paul Brown Stadium next door to start the next season.

But Anderson admits he is thinking about Walter Payton’s single-game rushing record of 275 yards while Dillon is cutting back the Bengals base “16,’ play behind Anderson and right guard Jay Leeuwenburg. If the Browns shift, he goes behind left guard Matt O’Dwyer and left tackle Rod Jones. The irony of course is that Dillon breaks Payton’s record in less than a year when his 278 yards vault the Bengals to their first victory at PBS. Today in their last Riverfront/Cinergy victory, the Bengals run it 53 times for 279 yards, their second most rushing yards of all-time, and quarterback Jeff Blake says it’s the best he’s ever seen an offensive line play. “We know they’re a fast-flow team,” Dillon says. “When they get to one side, if you can turn it back, you can gash them.”   Blake engineers his third straight game with more than 400 yards (459 on this day) for his third straight win after re-claiming the starting spot from injured rookie Akili Smith in midseason. Putting that on top of another 44-point effort against the 49ers the week before in the next-to-last game ever at Cinergy and Blake has now led the Bengals to their most back-to-back points in 14 years.

Although Riverfront/Cinergy saw two AFC title games, five AFC Central titles, a Freezer Bowl, and a Hall-of-Famer in left tackle Anthony Munoz, these guys haven’t. “It’s nice for the franchise, nice for the fans, nice for everybody,” says linebacker Takeo Spikes. “It’s just another day at the office. I’m ready to get out of here. I’m ready to get over the bad memories in this place and start over fresh.” They can’t wait to get to PBS. “We left it to the fans to be sentimental,” says Anderson after Guns ‘N Roses blares “Welcome to the Jungle,” one last time with 49 seconds left. “It’s not like we’re moving out of the city. The young guys, myself, Corey, Akili, Takeo, we’re excited about going to the new stadium.” So are the fans in the stands one last time. “My parents started taking me when I was seven or eight,” says Robert Young of Milford, Ohio. “Went to the Freezer Bowl game. Never got cold. I’m not going to miss Cinergy. But I had to be here today.”



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