Bucs 23 Bengals 56
The St.Petersburg Times, published 1989

It was another road disaster for Tampa Bay as they dropped No.37 of their last 43 away games, to Boomer Esiason's record-ripping Bengals. The Bucs, who won three of their first five games, dropped their third in a row and 14th straight road game against AFC opponents. Esiason matched his club records with five TD passes for James Brooks rushed for 131 yards to power Cincinnati to a 56-23 rout. Cincinnati, TD-less for seven quarters, totalled a team-record eight touchdowns and the second most points in club history against the bumbling Buccaneers.

Bucs' coach Ray Perkins looked on in horror as his club allowed the Bengals to gain 30 first downs, rush for 188 yards and pass for 295. Esiason's five TD throws matched the mark he set in 1986 against the New York Jets. The lefty fired scoring passes of one and nine yards to Rodney Holman, eight and 18 yards to Eddie Brown, and 14 yards to Tim McGee. Rookie Erik Wilhelm played the fourth quarter and threw a 46-yard score to McGee as the Bengals set a club record for TD passes in a game.

Brooks, who became the first player to rush for over 100 yards against Tampa Bay in 20 contests, gained 131 yards on 17 carries and scored on a four-yard run. Eric Ball added a one-yard frim for Cincy who trailed 16-14 just before half-time before reeling off 42 straight points to seize a 56-16 lead midway through the final period.

Vinny Testaverde fired three TD passes, three and two yards to Bruce Hill and 17 yards to Mark Carrier, but was intercepted three times. The Buccaneers also got a safety when Esiason stepped over the endline after recovering his own fumble in the endzone. Tampa grabbed a 7-0 lead less than five minutes into the game on Testaverde's three-yard pass to Hill. The 71-yard, seven-play drive was highlighted by Lars Tate's 46-yard charge, the longest run the Bengals' defense has given up this season.

Cincinnati scored on a one-yard pass from Esiason to Holman after a pass interference call on Ricky Reynolds put the Bengals at the one. Cincinnati led 14-7 early in the second quarter on Ball's one-yard TD run following a Joe Kelly interception and 41-yard explosion from scatback Brooks. Tampa Bay pulled within 14-9 midway through the second period with the safety and moved ahead 16-14, when Carrier leapt high over corner Eric Thomas for the TD.

Two TDs either side of halftime, an eight-yard Esiason toss to Brown with 17 seconds left in the half and Brooks' four-yard dash after a Tim Krumrie fumble recovery, put Cincy 12 points ahead. Esiason fired his third TD pass midway through the period, a 14-yarder to McGee, to stretch Cincinnati's margin to 35-16 to seal a drive which featured McGee's 25-yard run on a reverse. The Bengals' lead jumped to 26 points late in the third on Esiason's fourth TD pass, a nine-yarder to Holman. In the final period, Esiason completed his day with an 18-yard TD pass to Brown and Wilhelm came on to lob the 46-yard pass to McGee and boost the Bengals' lead to 56-16. The scoring ended on Testaverde's two-yarder to Hill with five minutes left.