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Top 50 Moments: Bengals Beat Undefeated Chiefs

Posted Nov 2, 2017

On Nov. 16, 2003, the 5-5 Bengals are in first place at the latest point in the season since their 1990 playoff run and a delirious PBS record crowd of 64,923 has screamed so loud that Jon Kitna pronounces, "The Jungle is back." Marvin Lewis praises it, and in an emotional locker room he chokes back tears awarding a game ball to Bengals president Mike Brown after a 24-19 victory over the 9-0 Chiefs validates his rebuilding project.

Chad Johnson guarantees it. Peter Warrick seals it. Marvin Lewis praises it, and in an emotional locker room he chokes back tears awarding a game ball to Bengals president Mike Brown after a 24-19 victory over the 9-0 Chiefs validates his rebuilding project.

As the sun slides behind Paul Brown Stadium on Nov. 16, 2003, the 5-5 Bengals are in first place at the latest point in the season since their 1990 playoff run and a delirious PBS record crowd of 64,923 has screamed so loud that Jon Kitna pronounces, "The Jungle is back."

"From the time that we started, we said we were going to bring the NFL back. And that was NFL football out there today," Lewis says after his 10th game as coach. "It was NFL atmosphere. It was fun. Everybody had fun. When you come to the stadium, you ought to be here for fun, and that is what we were having."

This is the first day for the rest of Bengaldom after years as a punch line.

Always snatching anything to motivate his team, the night before Lewis shows his team a clip from the movie "Ali," when Muhammad Ali first won the heavyweight title with a shocking upset over Sonny Liston by piling up points early with speed and then grinding to a TKO with relentless focus.

Wide receiver Peter Warrick supplies the speed with two game-breaking plays in the fourth quarter, a 68-yard punt return and a 77-yard touchdown catch from Kitna. Running back Rudi Ali Johnson (of course named after the champ) supplies the power with 165 yards on 22 carries in his fourth NFL start against a Chiefs team that graced the cover of Sports Illustrated that week.

There is redemption sweeter than Gatorade everywhere.

It is Warrick's greatest pro day and longest NFL catch in four tough seasons trying to live up to his No. 4 overall draft pick in 2000. Kitna, hounded by turnovers during his entire career, continues his NFL Comeback Year with two touchdowns and no interceptions against a Chiefs defense leading the league in turnovers. The special teams, dead last in the NFL the previous season, stuffs Pro Bowl returner Dante Hall while generating the game-buster from Warrick.

"I'm going to seal it with a kiss," Warrick tells T.J. Houshmandzadeh on the sidelines before the punt.

The defense facing Chiefs running back Priest Holmes, a video game at this point in the season, holds him to a season-low 98 yards from scrimmage.

But the most relieved man has to be wide receiver Chad Johnson after he guaranteed a win earlier in the week. After apologizing to Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil, he catches seven balls for 74 yards.

And if you still have that SI with Trent Green on the cover, Johnson will sign it and add "Guaranteed" under his signature.

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