- Coley Harvey, ESPN Staff Writer
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— NatiBuck513 (@NatiBuck513) June 9, 2014
This is one of three finalists for the most memorable play in Bengals history. The others are Stanford Jennings' go-ahead, 93-yard kickoff return touchdown at the end of the third quarter in Super Bowl XXIII against the 49ers, and John Taylor's game-winning touchdown catch to beat the Bengals in that same game. This entry is a play from the middle of the 2000 season. Vote below for your favorite.
Score: Bengals 31, Broncos 21
Date: Oct. 22, 2000 Site: Paul Brown Stadium
Description: It started as just another late-October Sunday afternoon in Cincinnati in a season that had already been effectively declared a wash. Arguably the biggest storyline entering the Week 8 showdown revolved around Paul Brown Stadium and the hex the Bengals had seemingly been under since they opened it earlier that year. At 0-3 at home and 0-6 overall, the Bengals hadn't quite gotten acclimated to their new digs. Actually, they hadn't quite gotten used to playing on the road, either.
But what else was new? Playing in the 10th year of what ended up being a 14-season stretch without a winning record, the Bengals were in the middle of some of their darkest days as a franchise. They needed something to get excited about. Their fans needed something to cheer.
Corey Dillon provided that spark when he rushed around the left side for a 41-yard touchdown, and a dash into the NFL's history books.
With his touchdown run that extended a Bengals lead to the eventual 31-21 score they would win by, Dillon became the league's new single-game rushing record holder. The 41-yard scamper was his last on an afternoon that saw him collect 278 yards rushing, three more than the 275 Hall of Famer Walter Payton had in a November 1977 Bears win over the Vikings.
Payton's record had stood for 23 years. Dillon's barely made it three. Baltimore's Jamal Lewis rushed for 295 yards in a game against Cleveland in 2003.
Because of how long Payton's record stood, Dillon's record-setting day was warmly received across the league, and continues to be. The run into history was considered one of the best moments in the NFL that season, and it certainly ranks among the top all-time plays in Bengals history. Hence its inclusion in this list. Does it rank as the best in franchise history, though? We'll find out what you say later this week.