Dillon has game in a half

BY GEOFF HOBSON

Running back Corey Dillon made history and then threatened to re-write history Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium as he led the Bengals to a 14-0 half-time lead over Arizona.

Dillon racked up 134 yards on 19 carries, including a one-yard touchdown with 46 seconds left in the half that capped a 13-play, 70-yard drive dominated by the run. The Bengals ran the ball 11 times on the drive, so their two incomplete passes didn't hurt them.

And on third-and-6 from the Cards 9, Dillon converted for the first down grinding, for eight yards behind the right side of the offensive line.

Dillon, who set the NFL single-game rushing record on Oct. 22 with 278 yards, was almost halfway there at halftime with the 18th 100-yard game of his career.

That broke the club record he shared with James Brooks, but he still had Brooks in his sights against the Cardinals' fourth-worst rush defense in the NFL.

Dillon finished the half just 44 yards shy of Brooks' club season record of 1,239 yards.

Quarterback Scott Mitchell struggled in his first outing since he sprained the medial collateral ligament in his left knee two weeks ago.

Mitchell hit seven of 14 passes for 47 yards and was intercepted by Cardinals cornerback Aeneas Williams when receiver Peter Warrick went long and Mitchell threw short.

But the NFL's second-best rush offense was in sync as the Bengals had the ball nearly seven minutes longer than Arizona.

And when it wasn't in sync, the Cards were helpful. A third-down pass interference call on cornerback Corey Chavous kept alive the Bengals' second touchdown drive.

The Bengals missed a huge chance to put the struggling Arizona offense out of the game midway through the second quarter.

Leading the Cardinals, 7-0, Dillon ripped up the middle for an 18-yard touchdown run, but it was waved off when right guard Mike Goff was called for holding on Arizona strong safety Pat Tillman.

And the score stayed 7-0 when Bengals kicker Neil Rackers hooked a 36-yard field goal to the left, his seventh miss in 16 attempts.

Dillon went 57 yards the first time he touched the ball as Cincinnati jumped to a 7-0 lead on its first series of the game.

The Bengals' defense responded by holding the Cardinals to 56 total yards in the entire first quarter and punctuated their effort when defensive end Vaughn Booker and strong safety Chris Carter stuffed Cardinals running back Michael Pittman on a fourth-and-1 from the Cincinnati 34.

Dillon, who rushed for 73 yards in the first quarter, almost took it all the way right away.

Tillman prevented the touchdown when his diving tackle tripped up Dillon at the Cardinals 1.

Two plays later, Bengals quarterback Scott Mitchell executed a play-action fake and found wide-open tight end Tony McGee for a two-yard touchdown pass that was McGee's first touchdown of the season.

Mitchell got the call to start about two hours before the game, his first outing since he sprained the medial collateral ligament in his left knee on the Bengals' final offensive play of their 16-13 loss in New England two weeks ago.

Mitchell's 236 passing yards were the most productive through the air for Cincinnati this season, but he had to sit out last week's 48-28 loss to Pittsburgh.

Also before the game, the Bengals deactivated defensive end Reinard Wilson, wide receiver Ron Dugans and tackle Mike Doughty. It's the second time this season that Wilson, the club's first-round pick three years ago, didn't dress for a game this season.

With fellow rookie wide receiver Danny Farmer emerging over the past two games, Dugans, a third-round pick, has had trouble finding a spot because he's not a factor on special teams. Farmer had three catches for 59 yards last week against the Steeler team that cut him in training camp after picking him in the fourth round.

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