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Eagles Going for 1st Win in Cincinnati

By Ryan Shute, Sports Talk Philly staff writer 

The 13th overall meeting between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Cincinnati Bengals will take place at Paul Brown Stadium this Sunday at 1 p.m. Through the first 12 meetings, the Bengals hold the series lead with a record of 8-3-1, with all three of their defeats to the Eagles coming at Veterans Stadium.

It took the Eagles 20 years from their inaugural matchup in 1971 to get their first win against the Cincinnati franchise.

On Week 12 of the 1991 season, the Eagles would finally get that win by a score of 17-10.

The Birds side of the scoring would come in the second quarter, when quarterback Jim McMahon hit wide-out Calvin Williams for a 10-yard touchdown pass.

The Eagles would score twice in the fourth quarter, getting a one-yard rushing touchdown from running back James Joseph and a 37-yard field goal from kicker Roger Ruzek.

But the real story of the day, which was the story of the year of the '91 Eagles, was how the opposing team’s quarterbacks were terrorized by the "Gang Green Defense."

Both Bengal quarterbacks Boomer Esiason and Donald Hollas had rough paper routes, as they were sacked a combined six times and were picked off three times.

Clyde Simmons and Reggie White would lead the way each recording two sacks, while fellow defensive line mates Jerome Brown and Mike Pitts would also join in on the sack party.

White would also get on the stat sheet by getting an interception, but it was safety Wes Hopkins who won the pick off the quarterback contest by snatching two passes from the opposition.

The Vet was considered an "all purpose" facility as it had the capabilities of transforming from a football field to a baseball field as it housed both the Eagles of the NFL and the MLB franchise, the Philadelphia Phillies. It also proved it could transform into the OK Corral for the shootout that took place on November 30 of 1997.

The Birds and Bengals would combine for 86 points in a duel between Cincinnati's Boomer Esiason against Philly’s apparent quarterback of the future, Bobby Hoying.

Esiason’s stat line would read he completed 27 of 47 passes for 378 yards and four touchdowns. Hoying’s number were right on par as he went 26-for-42 for 313 yards and also threw four touchdowns. Both quarterbacks did everything they could that day to give their team the chance to win and it would take until the very last second for the outcome to be determined.

With 2:41 left in the fourth quarter, Cincinnati would begin a drive on their own 37 yard-line trailing the Birds, 41-35. Esiason would help lead the Bengals to a 1st and goal from the one, where Brian Miline would run the ball into the end zone on his only carry of the game to give Cincinnati a one-point lead.

But the rookie Hoying was determined to put together his own fourth quarter drive.

The Eagles starting field position was from their own 26 with just 54 seconds left to play. Hoying led the Eagles offense all the way down to the Cincinnati 13 for a 61-yard drive that was capped off by Chris Boniol’s 31-yard game-winning field goal with no time left to give the Eagles the 44-42 victory.

On Christmas Eve of 2000, the game would be much more subdued than that meeting three years prior in terms of scoring, but not in terms of what was at stake for the Birds.

The uprising Eagles under second year head coach Andy Reid was led on the field by second year quarterback Donovan McNabb and looking to reach the 11-win mark and secure a home playoff game in the regular season finale.

With Eagles ahead 3-0 courtesy to a David Akers field goal, McNabb would hook up with receiver Charles Johnson toward the end of the opening quarter for a 39-yard touchdown to extend the Birds lead to 10-0.

The Birds would only need two more Akers field goals as the defense held Cincinnati to just seven points on the day. The Eagles would win 16-7 and reach 11 wins as well as earn the right to host a playoff game for the first time in five years.

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