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THE NFL / 1996

Coslet Stays Perfect for Bengals

AFC: Cincinnati rallies to 34-24 victory over Pittsburgh as coach wins third consecutive game since replacing Shula.

November 11, 1996|From Associated Press

CINCINNATI — Paul Brown, who founded the Cincinnati Bengals, couldn't win his first three games. Sam Wyche went to a Super Bowl, but never started out so well.

Something is going on under Bruce Coslet.

Coslet became the first Bengal coach to win his first three games Sunday as Cincinnati defeated the defending AFC champion Pittsburgh Steelers, 34-24.

"The difference is the players," said Coslet, who took over for Dave Shula three weeks ago. "They're prepared for the games. They do the work [in practice]."

The Bengals (4-6) have won three consecutive games for the first time since 1990, when Wyche led the team. And they have quickly developed a confidence that showed against the Steelers (7-3), a team that manhandled them last month in Pittsburgh and won its last five games at Cincinnati.

The Bengals ran back a botched kickoff for a touchdown, broke their longest touchdown run of the season, and showed a lot of grit in a game-winning drive that consumed nearly 10 minutes.

They intercepted Mike Tomczak three times in the second half, overcame three interceptions by Jeff Blake, and perfectly executed a quick-passing game plan that allowed Carl Pickens to match the club record with 12 catches.

Most of all, they didn't back down or get down when things went awry.

"They played with more emotion," Steeler cornerback Rod Woodson said. "They made a lot of good plays and any time you make a lot of plays, it gives you emotion. And Coslet called a good game."

It wasn't necessarily the plays--many were in the game plan when the Steelers sacked Blake 10 times in a 20-10 victory Oct. 13. The Bengals merely ran them better.

"The difference in this team is that everybody's together," said cornerback Ashley Ambrose, who had one of the three interceptions. "We're patting each other on the back. There's more unity. I think the coaching situation distracted the players, and we probably didn't respect Dave. Dave's a great coach, but I don't know how Bruce is getting us like this."

David Dunn returned a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown on the last play of the first half and Ki-Jana Carter scored twice for Cincinnati.

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