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Johnson's second TD the difference

10/27/2003

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Corey Dillon was all but forgotten, along with
the last 12 years of Bengals follies.

Dillon wasn't even in the stadium Sunday as his downtrodden team
pulled off a reputation-changing win. Jon Kitna's 53-yard touchdown
pass to Chad Johnson and two tipped interceptions gave Cincinnati a
27-24 victory over the Seattle Seahawks.

Question on the Seahawks: Will the road be a bugaboo for the Hawks all year?
The Seahawks don't have a championship mentality and it showed Sunday. Championship teams are able to play in any conditions and win, and they don't seem to have the mind-set to do that yet. This is a game they should've won, but instead they gave one away.

Question on the Bengals: How big of a win was this for Kitna?
This was a big win for Kitna and his teammates. He had a lot to prove as he went against his former team, but this team is being rewarded for buying into Marvin Lewis' system.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.

With their first win over a top-notch team, the Bengals (3-4)
proved they're no longer dreadful and no longer dependent upon one
moody running back.

"We believed we were going to win this game," offensive tackle
Willie Anderson said. "This is a new team."

Cincinnati has won back-to-back games for the first time since
2001 without much from Dillon, who was the team's entire focus
under previous coaching staffs.

Dillon put the focus on himself last week by announcing that he
feels unappreciated and wants out. He got into a traffic accident
on his way to the stadium Sunday, and was inactive even though he
wasn't injured.

First-year coach Marvin Lewis decided to make Dillon inactive
once he heard about the accident, which shook up the running back
and delayed him from getting to the stadium.

"We couldn't tell how he was going to be physically," Lewis
said. "We told him the key was to get himself right and fixed.
Everything happens for a reason."

Dillon wasn't on the sideline to see his understudy win over the
fans' hearts. They chanted "Rudi! Rudi!" as third-year back Rudi
Johnson ran for 101 yards and a touchdown, the first Bengals
running back other than Dillon to reach the 100-yard mark since
Ki-Jana Carter in 1997.

"It reminds me of the old days," said Johnson, referring to
his days at Auburn. "It was great to get the fans going like
that."

Dillon showed up at the stadium before the game, then left.

Seattle (5-2) pulled off one late comeback after another behind
Matt Hasselbeck as it got off to the best start in franchise
history. This time, two late opportunities got deflected away.

Chad Johnson's 53-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown -- he beat
cornerback Willie Williams on a slant and Kitna nearly lost his
grip on the ball as he threw-- put the Bengals ahead 27-24 with 8:03
left.

Later, Hasselbeck's pass was deflected to linebacker Brian
Simmons at the Bengals' 33-yard line, ending one threat. After
forcing a Bengals punt, the Seahawks drove to Cincinnati's 35, but
Simmons tipped another pass to cornerback Jeff Burris for a
clinching interception with 1:46 to go.

"It's not the end of the world, but it deflates you a little
bit," Hasselbeck said. "The plays were there to be made. The ball
bounces your way sometimes, and sometimes it doesn't. We were on
the wrong side of a fine line today."

Hasselbeck was 26-of-43 for 347 yards, but the Seahawks
self-destructed with three interceptions, one costly fumble and a
blocked 49-yard field goal attempt by Josh Brown that set up the
Bengals' go-ahead touchdown.

"You kind of knew we were supposed to come in here and take
care of business," said tight end Itula Mili, who had two
touchdown catches. "We didn't get that done. We didn't take care
of the little things. They really capitalized on the fact we
didn't. We feel like we let something slip away here today."

The victory was particularly sweet for Kitna, who led Seattle to
the playoffs in 1999 but got benched the next season by coach Mike
Holmgren because he wanted someone else leading the offense.
Holmgren later got Hasselbeck from Green Bay to lead the Seahawks'
resurgence.

Kitna carried a grudge for years, finally making his peace with
Holmgren during a phone call last year. Kitna completed 19 of 31
passes for 240 yards and two touchdowns Sunday, again avoiding the
costly mistake that characterized his career until this season.

"The fact that it came against that team at this time is big,"
Kitna said. "That it was against the team I cut my teeth with
makes it even bigger."

Game notes
Seahawks LB Chad Brown (foot) and DT Norman Hand (turf toe)
didn't play. LB Randall Godfrey left the game with a strained neck.
... The Bengals have won back-to-back games for the first time
since the end of the 2001 season. They opened 4-3 that season, then
lost seven in a row and finished 6-10. ... Cincinnati has already
surpassed its victory total from last year, when it went 2-14.