The Cincinnati Bengals First Game

chargers vs benagls 1968
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After a five-game preseason in which the inaugural version of the Cincinnati Bengals posted a 2-3 record, the new team ventured west to open the regular season against one of Paul Brown’s longtime rivals, Sid Gillman, and his San Diego Chargers.  The Chargers were coming off an 8-5-1 season the year before, and the second-consecutive season in which Gillman’s club missed out on post-season play.

Chargers quarterback John Hadl whipped up a 325-passing yard game against Brown’s Bengals, who were just not ready for a Gillman-designed offensive attack.  Despite daring first blood with a two-yard rushing touchdown from Paul Robinson, the Bengals could not contain the San Diego offense.  The Chargers took the lead in the third quarter, and did not look back.

The following box score was sourced from http://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/196809060sdg.htm.

 

Friday, September 6, 1968

1 2 3 4 Final
Cincinnati Bengals (0-1-0) 7 3 3 0 13
San Diego Chargers (1-0-0) 10 0 13 6 29
Game Info
Stadium San Diego Stadium
Surface grass
Weather 71 degrees, relative humidity 75%, wind 10 mph
Vegas Line Pick
Over/Under 0.0 (over)

Scoring

CIN SDG
1st Bengals Paul Robinson 2 yard rush (Dale Livingston kick) 7 0
Chargers Dennis Partee 42 yard field goal 7 3
Chargers Dickie Post 48 yard rush (Dennis Partee kick) 7 10
2nd Bengals Dale Livingston 22 yard field goal 10 10
3rd Chargers Brad Hubbert 1 yard rush (Dennis Partee kick) 10 17
Bengals Dale Livingston 35 yard field goal 13 17
Chargers Willie Frazier 48 yard pass from John Hadl (kick failed) 13 23
4th Chargers Willie Frazier 56 yard pass from John Hadl (kick failed) 13 29

Team Stats

CIN SDG
First downs 13 27
Rush-yards-TDs 30-122-1 33-229-2
Comp-Att-Yd-TD-INT 14-26-125-0-1 20-37-325-2-0
Sacked-yards 2-21 0-0
Net pass yards 104 325
Total yards 226 554
Fumbles-lost 4-1 2-2
Turnovers 2 2
Penalties-yards 5-56 10-100

Passing, Rushing, & Receiving

Passing Rushing Receiving
Tm Cmp Att Yds TD Int Lng Att Yds TD Lng Rec Yds TD Lng
Tommie Smiley CIN 9 26 0 0 6 51 0 0
Dewey Warren CIN 14 26 125 0 1 0 1 12 0 0
Warren McVea CIN 1 28 0 0 4 32 0 0
Paul Robinson CIN 16 33 1 0
S.T. Saffold CIN 2 24 0 0
Andre White CIN 2 18 0 0
Essex Johnson CIN 2 16 0 0
Jess Phillips CIN 1 7 0 0
Passing Rushing Receiving
Tm Cmp Att Yds TD Int Lng Att Yds TD Lng Rec Yds TD Lng
John Hadl SDG 20 37 325 2 0 0 1 0 0 0
Dickie Post SDG 16 140 1 0 1 -4 0 0
Gary Garrison SDG 5 101 0 0
Jacque MacKinnon SDG 4 87 0 0
Brad Hubbert SDG 11 54 1 0 3 17 0 0
Lance Alworth SDG 1 10 0 0 4 58 0 0
Willie Frazier SDG 3 66 2 0
Russ Smith SDG 2 20 0 0
Paul Lowe SDG 1 9 0 0
Jon Brittenum SDG 1 -4 0 0

Defense & Returns

Def Interceptions Fumbles Kick Returns Punt Returns
Tm Sk Int Yds TD Lng FR Yds TD Rt Yds Y/Rt TD Lng Ret Yds Y/R TD Lng
Warren McVea CIN 0 0 0 0 3 72 24.0 0 0
Monk Williams CIN 0 0 0 0 2 56 28.0 0 0 1 1 1.0 0 0
Def Interceptions Fumbles Kick Returns Punt Returns
Tm Sk Int Yds TD Lng FR Yds TD Rt Yds Y/Rt TD Lng Ret Yds Y/R TD Lng
Speedy Duncan SDG 0 0 0 0 2 51 25.5 0 0 2 0 0.0 0 0
Tom Erlandson SDG 1 6 0 0
Dickie Post SDG 0 0 0 0 2 38 19.0 0 0

Kicking & Punting

PAT FG Punting
Tm XPM XPA FGM FGA Pnt Yds Y/P Lng
Dale Livingston CIN 1 1 2 2 7 310 44.3 0
PAT FG Punting
Tm XPM XPA FGM FGA Pnt Yds Y/P Lng
Dennis Partee SDG 2 4 1 3 2 117 58.5 0
Todd Tobias (775 Posts)

Todd Tobias's interest in the American Football League began in 1998, when he wrote my master's thesis about Sid Gillman. He created this site to educate and entertain football fans with the stories of the American Football League, 1960-1969. You can follow Todd and get more AFL history on Twitter @TalesfromtheAFL.



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10 Responses to The Cincinnati Bengals First Game

  1. billd says:

    This game also marked Paul Lowe’s last rushing attempt as a San Diego Charger. The Chargers were coming off a strong preseason which included victories over the LA Rams and 49’ers. The 68 Chargers started the year strong, lost a close last minute game to the eventual World Champ Jets and then faded the rest of the year.

  2. 1967 says:

    Wasn’t this also the game Lance Alworth got ejected by an official for over-exuberant blocking (i.e., pushing/shoving match) with CIN CB Fletcher Smith? (seem to recall seeing that mentioned on a Chargers season highlight tape.)

  3. So Essex Johnson WAS an original Bengal. I didn’t realize that. He’s one of the few Bengals I know from that era because I had his football cards in the ’70’s. I remember he rushed for 997 yards in 1973.

  4. Charles Oakey says:

    I went to this game. After having Oakland Raider season tickets in 1967 I thought to myself why is the San Diego crowd so quiet?

  5. stephen grooms says:

    This was a rare. maybe only home game not blacked out. I watched it from home in San Diego.

    • Virgil Baldon, Jr. says:

      I remember this game from television coverage on WAVE-TV, Louisville, then as now our NBC affiliate. Since downtown Louisville is only 99 miles from downtown Cincinnati, we were one of the close cities with Columbus (102 miles) and Lexington (88 miles) that Cincinnati Bengal fans traveled to on the rare occasions home games were blacked out in Cincinnati and Dayton (a separate market, but only 58 miles away…it was inside the 75-mile limit and was blacked out, too.)

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