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Broncos rally past Bengals 33-26 to stay unbeaten
Posted: Monday November 02, 1998 12:33 AM
CINCINNATI (AP) -- Give John Elway a couple of minutes and he'll keep you unbeaten.
Elway led Denver to three fourth-quarter touchdowns Sunday as the Broncos rallied to beat the Cincinnati Bengals 33-26 and remain the NFL's only unbeaten team.
The defending Super Bowl champions (8-0) added to the best start in franchise history by turning to its best duo in the last 16 years -- Elway and the fourth quarter.
Denver scored three touchdowns in the final 7:05, overcoming one of its flattest performances against the inspired Bengals (2-6). Terrell Davis ran 2 yards for a touchdown and Elway converted Vaughn Hebron's blocked punt into a 25-yard touchdown pass to Ed McCaffrey only 2:01 later.
The Broncos went for the 2-point conversion and Davis was stopped just shy of the goal line, leaving Denver up 26-18. The Bengals then tied it with Neil O'Donnell's third touchdown pass, a 1-yard throw to Marco Battaglia, and O'Donnell's pass to Carl Pickens for the conversion.
All that did was give Elway a chance for his 46th saving drive -- one that tied the game or put the Broncos ahead in the fourth quarter.
Elway needed only five plays to cover 53 yards and set up Davis' 5-yard touchdown run around the left end with 58 seconds left. Elway had completions of 30 and 14 yards to McCaffrey on the drive.
Denver then held on after Tremain Mack returned the kickoff 61 yards to the Broncos' 32 with 48 seconds to play. Alfred Williams, a former No. 1 draft pick by the Bengals, sacked O'Donnell to put the Bengals in a bind, and O'Donnell's final two passes were too long.
O'Donnell finished 20-of-37 for 257 yards and three touchdowns while working with a depleted receiving corps. Darnay Scott was inactive because of a strained Achilles' tendon.
The Bengals controlled the first half, anyway, piling up 238 yards against a defense that looked flat. They couldn't convert when they got close, wasting the chance to give themselves a big cushion.
Cincinnati had four first-and-goal chances in the first half and had to settle for two field goals and a touchdown followed by a botched extra-point try.
That hurt them in the second half, when Elway and Davis finally got the Broncos' offense rolling. Davis finished with 149 yards on 27 carries, his seventh consecutive 100-yard game.
And Elway was at his best at the end, completing all four of his fourth-quarter passes for 86 yards and one touchdown. Overall, Elway was 15-of-26 for 213 yards.
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