Detroit reaches club-worst 0-6 start


PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) -- Corey Dillon's biggest worry was that he
would be stuck with the same old Cincinnati Bengals when he signed
a five-year contract worth about $32 million in May.

So far, they have turned it around, thanks to their star running

Where does Corey Dillon rank among NFL running backs?
Dillon is definitely in the top five -- and possibly on the high end of that five. He can run and catch, and he had a big day today (184 yards, two TDs). After getting blanked by the Bears last week, the Bengals really needed that from him in this game.

When Dillon runs effectively, he makes Jon Kitna a better quarterback, giving the Bengals a strong play-action pass option.

ESPN.com NFL analyst Vinny Cerrato has served as director of player personnel for the Redskins and 49ers.


Dillon scored three touchdowns, including a 96-yard run on the
first play, and accounted for 202 yards as Cincinnati beat Detroit
31-27 Sunday, keeping the Lions the NFL's lone winless team.

The Bengals (4-3), who haven't won five games in a season since
1997, are off to their best start since 1990, the last time they
finished with a winning record. They won on the road for the first
time this year and for just the fourth time in three seasons.

"My instinct and my heart wanted to be here, and it's paying
off," Dillon said. "I could've gone somewhere else, possibly. But
this is where I wanted to be and it's very satisfying and

The Lions (0-6) are off to their worst start since 1955, two
years before their last NFL championship.

"Everybody feels miserable," Detroit's Todd Lyght said.

Dillon ran for 184 yards on 27 carries and caught three passes
for 18 yards. The Bengals are 9-0 when he rushes for more than 130

"We've been talking all week about running the ball, and I
guess the guys took it to heart," said Cincinnati coach Dick
LeBeau, who made a franchise-record 62 interceptions for the Lions
from 1959-72. "After that first one, I thought Corey was going to
get to 200 again, but he didn't quite make it. He had a tremendous
game, though."

Dillon's 96-yard run was the longest in Bengals history, the
longest ever against Detroit and tied for the fourth-longest in NFL
history. He also caught an 8-yard TD pass and ran in the go-ahead
score from the 1.

His third touchdown, with 8:06 to go, capped a 13-play, 85-yard
drive that took 7:38 after Detroit rallied for its only lead of the

Cincinnati gave Detroit the ball four more times, but the Lions
failed to score.

"A couple of years ago, I don't know what would've happened,"
Dillon said.

Detroit has lost its last three games by four, three and five

"This is the third week we have battled right up to the very
end, and we will continue to do that," Detroit's rookie coach
Marty Mornhinweg said. "I am upset right now."

Safety Ron Rice was as well.

"This is the worst I've ever felt in my football career," Rice
said. "I feel like there's nothing we can do right."

Cincinnati's Jon Kitna was 17-of-27 for 204 yards with two
touchdowns and two interceptions. Darnay Scott caught six passes
for 99 yards and a touchdown.

Detroit's Charlie Batch, who barely practiced this week because
of a sore right shoulder, was 20-of-35 for 239 yards, two
touchdowns, two interceptions and two fumbles, one of which was
recovered by the Lions.

Dillon's 96-yard touchdown run, on which he was untouched, came
one play after Curtis Keaton muffed the opening kickoff.

After Batch's second fumble, which the Lions recovered, Jason
Hanson's 51-yard field goal made it 7-3 late in the first.

Cincinnati took a 14-3 lead Dillon's 8-yard catch.

A pass thrown behind Peter Warrick was tipped by teammate Terry
Fair and intercepted by Rice, who returned it 8 yards to the
Bengals 24. The Lions got to the 6, but had to settle for Hanson's
24-yard field goal that made it 14-6.

On the next drive, Scott caught a 27-yard pass and a 30-yard TD
pass from Kitna -- after Detroit safety Kurt Schulz knocked Lyght
away from Scott -- putting the Bengals ahead 21-6.

Desmond Howard returned the ensuing kick 91 yards, his
career-best regular-season kickoff return. Three plays later,
Lamont Warren's 1-yard run made it 21-13 with 21 seconds left in
the half.

Howard's 65-yard return, to the Bengals 28 to start the second
half led to Batch's 27-yard pass to Johnnie Morton and 1-yard TD
toss to David Sloan. The Bengals still led 21-19 after Detroit
failed on a 2-point conversion.

Neil Rackers' 39-yard field goal gave the Bengals a 24-19 lead.

Detroit took its first lead late in the third on Batch's second
1-yard TD pass to Sloan. A 2-point conversion pass to Warren put
the Lions ahead 27-24.

Game notes
Dillon has averaged 121 yards rushing in Cincinnati's four
wins and just 47 in its three losses. ... Howard's 229 yards in
kickoff returns was a career high and second highest in team
history. ... Sloan caught two TD passes for the first time.


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