Bengals Throwback Thursday: 3 big moments vs. Broncos

Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Before I start this article detailing the best moments between the Cincinnati Bengals and Denver Broncos, I just wanted to offer my condolences to the Thomas family. R.I.P. to the Bronco great Demaryius Thomas. He was an immense talent and from what I have read and he was an even better person. If you’d like to know more you can read here at EPSN.

The Bengals and Broncos have met 32 times since Cincinnati’s inaugural season in 1968. The Broncos lead the series 22-10 with John Elway being the harbinger of a lot of that pain. Really you can look at this series as three eras: Pre-Elway, Elway, and Post-Elway.

In this edition of Throwback Thursday, I will look at one game in Pre-Elway and two Post-Elway.

Nov. 22, 1981 – Bengals Last Win for 19 Years

As I said this series can be split up into three eras. That’s because the Bengals were 6-14 against the Broncos before Elway came into the league. Once he entered the NFL, Cincy never beat the Broncos. Nineteen years, eight games, they dropped all of them to John Elway.

This happened to be the last game the Bengals would win before the Broncos traded for Elway in 1983 after the ’83 draft. In 1981 the Broncos had Craig Morton as the starting quarterback. However, he missed this one game during the 1981 season so Steve DeBerg got the nod against Cincy.

Going into this week 12 matchup both teams were sitting at 8-3. This was an important game for both teams, however, after the Broncos 8-3 start, they lost three of their next five games including this one to Cincy.

Because of this loss and a prior loss to the Bills the Broncos missed the playoffs while the Bengals went on to the Super Bowl and unfortunately lose. Despite DeBerg’s best efforts, the Broncos didn’t just lose, they were trounced by the Bengals.

DeBerg threw for over 300 yards and two total touchdowns but he also threw two interceptions. Ken Anderson also had himself a day with nearly 400 passing yards and three touchdowns. All of DeBerg’s scores also came in garbage time.

The Bengals were up 31-7 in the fourth quarter when DeBerg finally put a couple of touchdown drives together. With a final score of 38-21, the score was closer than the game actually was.

Oct. 22, 2000 – Corey Dillon Sets Single Game Rushing Record

Since John Elway retired, the Broncos have had 23 total starting quarterbacks and many bad seasons except some success with Plummer and Cutler, and of course two Super Bowl appearances and one win with Peyton Manning. Brian Griese did have some success with the Broncos during his four seasons with them.

The Bengals had it much rougher between Boomer Esiason and Carson Palmer. In 2000, Akili Smith was the man in Cincy. One thing I don’t understand about Smith is why he is not mentioned more as one of the biggest draft busts.

Well, he led the team in passing this season with 1,253 yards, three touchdowns, and six interceptions during his 11 games. Looking back on this season it is no surprise that the Bengals were winless going into this week 8 matchup.

Now, if I told you that one team had 365 yards passing and one team had 34 yards of passing, who do you think won? Well, with Corey Dillon’s career game the Bengals didn’t need to throw the ball. The Bengals threw a total of 14 times with only two completions.

Dillon on the other hand ran 22 times for 278 yards and was averaging over 12 yards a carry, essentially every run was a first down or close to it. Five Bengals had rushing attempts on this day totaling 407 yards. Those are college numbers.

Corey Dillon was the first jersey I ever owned and I remember wanting his jersey after this game. It broke my heart watching Jamal Lewis break Dillon’s record just three years later. I truly thought I would last longer than that.

Dillon’s record was eclipsed twice after Lewis, however, only Adrain Peterson has rushed for more yards in a single game than him. In 2007, Peterson rushed for 296 yards, which was one yard more than Lewis. Still, for a brief moment, a Bengal possessed that record.

Dec. 22, 2014 – Bengals Thrash Peyton Manning in Prime Time

This will be one of those games I will never forget. I also had the pleasure of watching this game with Stripe Hype‘s own Leigh Oleszczak. Both teams were having good seasons, but this game was more important for the Bengals rather than the Broncos. The Broncos won the division sitting three games ahead of the Chiefs.

The AFC North was much tighter and the Bengals needed every win they could get. Given Andy Dalton’s primetime record and they were facing Peyton Manning I didn’t have high hopes that the Bengals would pull it out.

The game didn’t start great for the Bengals as Dalton threw a pick-six to Aqib Talib four minutes into the game. But, the next drive Jeremy Hill broke one off for 85 yards and a touchdown. Add in two field goals, a passing touchdown for Dalton, a pick by Manning, and a missed field goal at the end of the half for the Broncos, and it was 20-7 at halftime.

To start the second half, thanks to a huge Broncos return, they scored early in the third quarter. However, Pacman Jones also had a huge return on this kick-off and the Bengals scored quickly making it 27-14.

Due to an unfortunate fumble in the red zone by Hill, the Broncos scored two consecutive touchdowns making it 28-27 as the game headed into the fourth quarter. After another Bengals fumble, it began to feel like the implosion was beginning and the good guys would lose.

Then, when all hope felt lost, Pacman came up with another big play and picked off Manning, leading to a Bengals field goal. With 2:45 left on the clock, Dre Kirkpatrick intercepted Manning and took it to the house to seal the game, 37-28. The final nail in the coffin was Kirkpatrick picking off Manning again with one minute left in regulation.

It was truly a game I won’t forget.

dark. Next. 6 Oldest Bengals of All-Time

What do you think? Did I miss any big games?