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Lewis Gets First Win

September 29, 2003|From Associated Press

CLEVELAND — Other than dumping a cooler on their coach's head, the Cincinnati Bengals hardly celebrated their first win.

Instead, they acted like winners. Which is what Marvin Lewis promised they'd be.

The NFL's sorriest team for the last decade gave their first-year coach his first victory Sunday as Jon Kitna threw three touchdown passes to lead Cincinnati past the Cleveland Browns, 21-14.

It's just one win, but the Bengals (1-3) aren't feeling -- or playing -- like the Bungles anymore.

But, it didn't start that way for the Bengals, who had some silly penalties while falling behind, 14-7, in the second quarter.

Lewis then huddled his defense on the sideline, and the former defensive coordinator delivered a heated motivational speech.

"He was not happy," linebacker Kevin Hardy said.

Cincinnati responded to Lewis' tongue-lashing by shutting out the Browns (1-3) the rest of the way, and as the clock expired, the Bengals paid their coach back by dousing him with Gatorade.

"This is a big day," Lewis said. "The guys have worked extremely hard, and today they reaped the rewards. I was starting to wonder when we were going to get that first one."

In the second half, the Bengals played without running back Corey Dillon, who was slowed by a groin injury. He gained just 20 yards and watched after halftime as Rudi Johnson, who came in without a carry this season, rushed for 51 yards in 15 carries.

Tim Couch, starting for Cleveland in place of the injured Kelly Holcomb, threw two touchdown passes.

The former No. 1 overall draft pick was 23 of 36 for 280 yards. But with the Browns needing a touchdown to tie, Couch underthrew Kevin Johnson and was intercepted with one minute left by cornerback Jeff Burris.

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