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Bengals the Boast of Town

November 04, 2002|From Associated Press

HOUSTON — Chad Johnson guaranteed victory for the Cincinnati Bengals and Artrell Hawkins helped make it happen.

Energized by a 102-yard interception return by Hawkins and getting four touchdown passes from Jon Kitna, the Bengals became the last NFL team to get a victory this season, 38-3 Sunday over the Houston Texans.

The Bengals (1-7) have the worst record of any NFL team over the last 12 seasons, but that didn't keep wide receiver Johnson from guaranteeing they would defeat the expansion Texans (2-6).

Johnson wasn't as boastful after the game, however. "It feels good, but everyone misinterpreted the guarantee thing," Johnson said. "I didn't mean any disrespect to the Texans. What I wanted to do was add fuel to our fire, make a statement."

Hawkins made a statement during the game. His first-quarter return tied the longest play in Cincinnati history and put the Bengals ahead for good.

"All it was was a quick out route," Hawkins said. "I got a good break on it and the rest is history."

David Carr had thrown 97 consecutive passes without an interceptions when Hawkins stepped in front of a pass for Jabar Gaffney in the end zone and bolted down the sideline with a clear field ahead of him. After appearing to step out of bounds at the Houston 24, he cut back inside and his only pursuer was Carr, who made a diving tackle attempt near the goal line.

"Tony Boselli (an offensive lineman) caught me four years ago," Hawkins said. "I couldn't let this quarterback catch me."

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