CINCINNATI, NOV. 25 -- Eric Dickerson is back, again.
He rushed 22 times for 143 yards and a touchdown today as the Indianapolis Colts won their third straight game, beating the Cincinnati Bengals, 34-20.
"I was concerned about him because I knew he was ready to have one of these days," said Bengals Coach Sam Wyche. "We just couldn't match his speed when he broke to the outside."
Dickerson returned to the Colts in the sixth week of the season after a contract dispute but had accomplished little until yesterday. He set up one touchdown with a 43-yard carry in the second quarter, and set up an Indianapolis field goal with a 32-yarder later in the period. A 17-yard run set up the Colts' final field goal.
"I think this will give a lot of confidence to the team," Dickerson said. "I think we improve a little bit each week."
Wyche said the Colts, who had been 11-point underdogs, outplayed Cincinnati in almost every phase of the game.
Rookie Jeff George was even better than he had looked on film, Wyche said. George, having his best day as a pro, completed 21 of 31 passes for 251 yards and threw touchdown passes to Jessie Hester, Bill Brooks and Stanley Morgan.
"He's going to be a big-time player," Wyche said.
Going in, the Colts (5-6) were last, statistically, in NFL offense. They were averaging 60 yards rushing per game and had not had a 100-yard game from a running back.
The resurgence of Dickerson and the growth of George allowed the Colts to establish a balance of passing and rushing they had been lacking, and they dominated play until the Bengals (6-5) rallied with two quick touchdowns in the third quarter.
George served notice on the AFC Central Division-leading Bengals early, connecting with Hester for a 40-yard gain on the first play from scrimmage. The Colts ended that series with a missed 51-yard field goal attempt.