1973 Replay: Anderson Dissects Broncos in 26-21 Bengal Victory

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Ken Anderson would not let the Cincinnati Bengals lose despite his team’s best efforts to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Anderson was masterful against a strong Denver Broncos defense. He ended the game a stellar 23 for 28 with 292 yards and a touchdown, a five yard pass to Issac Curtis that gave the Bengals a lead they would never relinquish.

But it almost wasn’t to be. It was Denver starting off hot, confusing the Bengals between Floyd Little’s running and Charley Johnson’s smart passing. Little’s five yard scamper gave Denver an early 7-0 lead. After the Bengals’ Essex Johnson tied the game, the Broncos again marched effortlessly down the field scoring on a 14 yard touchdown pass from Johnson to Joe Dawkins.

But then¬†Anderson went to work. First the Bengals closed the gap to 10-14 on a 43 yard Horst Muhlmann field goal.¬†On the ensuing kickoff, Cincinnati scored a safety when Otis Armstrong was tackled in the end zone after having to run back to retrieve a fumble. Anderson would hit Curtis on that five yard throw with just 20 seconds left in the half. Within five minutes, the Broncos’ stunned crowd saw the home team go from leading 14-7 to trailing 19-14 at halftime.

The Bengals kept the pressure up with Anderson driving the Bengals to start the second half before handing off to Johnson for his second touchdown run of the day. Down 26-14, the Broncos finally woke up thanks in art to the Bengals defense. Three times the Bengals defense extended a late Broncos drive due to penalties. In fact, the Bengals were their own worst enemies on the day, drawing 10 penalties to just one against Denver. Denver capped off the penalty plagued drive with another Johnson to Dawkins touchdown pass. With four minutes left, the Broncos kicked off. The Broncos managed to force the Bengals into a third and long only to commit their one penalty at the worst time. This allowed the Bengals to drain more clock. By the time the Broncos got the ball back, only seconds remained and a pressured Johnson’s dump off to Dawkins came up well short of the end zone.

Stats:

Passing:

BENGALS: K. Anderson 23-28 292 1-0; BRONCOS: C. Johnson 15-27192 2-0.

Rushing:

BENGALS: E. Johnson 18-74-2, B. Clark 14-17, L. Elliott 3-16; BRONCOS: Little 11-32-1, J. Dawkins 4-21, O. Ross 2-11, O. Armstrong 1-0, C. Johnson 1-(-1).

Receiving:

BENGALS: I. Curtis 7-101-1, C. Joiner 5-78, B. Clark 5-42, B. Trumpy 4-57, E. Johnson 2-14; BRONCOS: H. Moses 4-41, J. Dawkins 4-37-2, F. Little 3-41, R. Odoms 2-43, J. Simmons 1-17, G. Washington 1-13.

Defense:

BENGALS: Sacks: B. Bergey, R. Berry. Safety: K. Avery

BRONCOS: Sacks: L. Alzado