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NFL / WEEK 8 | CINCINNATI 31, DENVER 21

Dillon Enters Record Book With Late Rush

October 23, 2000|From Associated Press

CINCINNATI — An incredulous Corey Dillon dropped to his knees and drove his facemask into the ground while teammates dumped water on his back.

The icy shower and the NFL record were both quite a jolt.

Dillon ran for an NFL-record 278 yards Sunday and broke two long touchdown runs in the closing minutes to secure the Cincinnati Bengals' first victory, 31-21, over the Denver Broncos.

He didn't realize he had topped Walter Payton's single-game mark until he reached the sideline and the record was announced to the crowd.

"I'm still in shock," said Dillon, who also topped Jim Brown's rookie record (246 yards) in 1997. "I still don't believe it. From how I was running, I didn't see that I had that many yards. I was just out there trying to get four yards."

Dillon's scoring runs of 65 and 41 yards in the final five minutes put him ahead of Payton, who ran for 275 yards for the Chicago Bears against the Minnesota Vikings on Nov. 20, 1977.

The breakaway runs also capped the biggest rushing game by an NFL team in 50 years. The Bengals (1-6) completed only two passes--none after the first quarter--but set a team record by rushing for 407.

It was the fifth-highest rushing total in league history and the most since the New York Giants churned out 423 against Baltimore in 1950. Bengal quarterbacks Akili Smith (two for nine) and Scott Mitchell (0 for 5) tied the team record for fewest completions.

"Back when I was in high school I think we had some games like that," said Mitchell, who entered the game when Smith became dizzy after a sack early in the second half. "I guess if you stay around long enough, you'll see everything."

The Broncos (4-4) entered with the league's second-toughest run defense. No team had run for more than 123 yards this season against a defense giving up an average of 65 per game.

"We focused on him all week long and he still did a tremendous job," safety Billy Jenkins said. "When you let a guy set an NFL record against you, that's the epitome of embarrassment."

Dillon repeatedly cut back and found big holes. He had six runs of at least 30 yards.

Dillon already was in the NFL record book for his 246-yard effort three years ago, which broke Brown's 40-year-old rookie record. His name now tops lists featuring Brown, Payton and O.J. Simpson.

"They did their thing. I'm not even in their league right now," Dillon said. "I'm just out here hopefully when all is said and done trying to get into the Hall of Fame and join them."

Wide receiver Peter Warrick also had a 77-yard touchdown run for the Bengals.

The Broncos, who built a 14-3 lead, committed three turnovers.

"We had the mindset to get out to a lead and blow them out and embarrass them, but they killed us," said Bronco quarterback Brian Griese, who completed 30 of 45 passes for 365 yards.

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