As great as Monday night's spectacular 54-51 classic authored by the Rams and the Chiefs that everyone could see on their phones, they still fell a point shy of the desktop version the Bengals and Browns produced in 2004.
Rams quarterback Jared Goff outgunned the Chiefs Patrick Mahomes, 54-51, but it still didn't eclipse that duel between Bengals running back Rudi Johnson and Browns quarterback Kelly Holcomb at Paul Brown Stadium on Nov. 28, 2004.
"I don't even know what the score was," said Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer right after and he had to be told they won by 58-48.
Those 106 points are still the second most in an NFL game as Holcomb threw for 413 yards, Johnson ran for 202 yards and the Bengals rushed (253) and passed (251) for 250 yards for the third time in their history. Palmer threw four touchdown passes, two to wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, one from 53 yards, and wide receiver Chad Johnson had 117 yards on the day. Browns tight end Steve Heiden caught three of his career 14 TD passes and Antonio Bryant, who never caught a ball for the Bengals after they gave him $7 million six years later, was the day's leading receiver with 131 yards.
"There's no reason to sit here and analyze and be logical about what happened in the second half," added linebacker Brian Simmons. "That was from somewhere else."
Simmons, a high school coach in Orlando, Fla., made it through Monday's first three quarters and saw the '04 score flash on the screen as the Rams and Chiefs flailed away. He hadn't thought about it until he saw it and he remembered the game, but that's about it.
"He's probably got that tape up on a shelf somewhere and he'll be popping it in this Thanksgiving for everybody to watch," Simmons said of Holcomb.
"The thing about last night is just how it's almost impossible to play defense with the rules the way they are now," Simmons said. "And those two young quarterbacks are great. They're going to be doing that for 15 years and their teams have to be happy about that."
Ever the defensive player, Simmons wanted to know how many turnovers the Bengals forced. It turns out Palmer survived three interceptions because one of Holcomb's two came right after the two-minute warning with the Browns thinking about driving for the winner down only, 51-48. Cornerback Deltha O'Neal stepped in front of tight end Aaron Shea and went 31 yards on a pick-six to seal it with 1:43 left.
"Turnovers," said Simmons triumphantly.