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Top 50 Moments: Bengals Upset Defending Super Bowl Champ Ravens

Posted Nov 7, 2017

With emotions running high at a flag-filled Paul Brown Stadium in their first game since the Sept. 11 tragedy, the Bengals respond with an upset when they beat the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens, 21-10.

With emotions running high at a flag-filled Paul Brown Stadium in their first game since the Sept. 11 tragedy, the Bengals respond with an upset when they beat the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens, 21-10. The highlight play on the highlight day comes courtesy of fourth-year vet Takeo Spikes, who along with fellow linebacker Brian Simmons is the heart-and-soul of a defense that has the Bengals 2-0 for the first time since 1995.  Spikes' 66-yard interception return for a touchdown with 6:04 left in the game seals the Bengals’ biggest win in more than a decade. With quarterback Jon Kitna ending the first drive by hitting running back Corey Dillon on a one-yard pass off a fake handoff to sweeping wide receiver Peter Warrick and then finishing off the second on a two-yard quarterback draw for the TD, the Bengals end Baltimore's NFL-best 12-game winning streak, beat Baltimore for the first since 1997, and record two September home victories for the first time since the last playoff year of 1990.

"Do you believe now, Cincinnati?" Spikes asks. "I just can't wait to go see myself at 7 o'clock on Chris Berman's highlights … Berman; he doesn't really like the Bengals. I want to go and see what he has to say. That's exciting, man. (His teammates aren't) going to wait until 7 o'clock. They plan to go to that late game and catch halftime."  Spikes says the Bengals are in man coverage, but he doesn’t "hug," the running back out of the backfield. Instead, he stays in a zone, which he thinks catches Ravens quarterback Elvis Grbac by surprise. Grbac doesn’t get any air under the ball and Spikes tips it to himself. Elvis leaves the building with the derisive chant of "El--vis, El--vis," ringing in his ears after turning down the Bengals’ free-agent off in March. But the biggest defensive play comes with the Ravens leading, 3-0, and 1:35 left in the half. Their 17-play drive gets stymied in the Bengals' end zone when Simmons gets the Bengals' first turnover of the season on a tipped pass and brings it out to the Bengals 3.

The Bengals get six turnovers for the first time since 1989, turning the tables on the Ravens defense that breaks all kinds of NFL records last year. As Ravens defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis observes his 43rd birthday, he watches cornerback Artrell Hawkins do the celebrating, instead, as the clock hits zero. "I just fell down on the ground," Hawkins says. "I've never been so happy and so tired at the same time here."  The Ravens notice. "Dick LeBeau has got them believing," says Ravens tight end Shannon Sharpe of their head coach.  "In twelve years in the league, that's as good as I've seen a Cincinnati team look from top to bottom."

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