CINCINNATI — Andy Dalton returned from his three-week exile Sunday and got a long-awaited win for Cincinnati's new head coach and former Husker quarterback Zac Taylor.
Dalton was previous bench but returned this week to throw a touchdown pass during a 22-6 victory over the New York Jets that ended the longest losing streak in Bengals' history.
The Bengals (1-11) had lost 13 in a row since the end of last season.
Taylor benched Dalton after the eighth loss, deciding to see whether Ryan Finley fit into the team’s long-term plans.
With the rookie struggling and the season careening toward 0-16, Taylor reversed course and went back to Dalton, who made the difference in front of the smallest crowd in Paul Brown Stadium history. Carlos Dunlap and Sam Hubbard dunked Taylor with ice water in the final seconds.
Dalton got beyond his initial bitterness over the benching and led the NFL’s lone winless team to the breakthrough victory in front of 39,804 fans.
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2004: Zac Taylor drops back to pass with Butler (Kansas) Community College.
April 16, 2005: Zac Taylor is mobbed by fans as the enters the field during the Huskers' spring game.
April 16, 2005: Zac Taylor laughs as he leaves the field at halftime.
Sept. 10, 2005: Zac Tayor sees old teammates from Wake Forest, including Napoleon Sykes, left, and Robert Simmons. Nebraska won 31-3.
Oct. 29, 2005: Zac Taylor waits out the final seconds after failing to convert on fourth down in a 31-24 loss to Oklahoma.
Oct. 29, 2005: Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops shakes hands with Zac Taylor.
Nov. 25, 2005: Nebraska quarterback Zac Taylor gained 16 yards on the ground against Colorado, but most of the time he let his arm do the talking, throwing for 392 yards and two touchdowns. “It’s unbelievable,” Taylor said of the Huskers’ surprisingly easy win over the Buffs. “This is finally the game we’ve been waiting to play.”
Aug. 3, 2006: Nebraska's Zac Taylor, middle, Beau Davis, left, and Joe Ganz at the first day of Husker football practice.
Oct. 21, 2006: Zac Taylor throws the ball to Terrence Nunn late in a game against Texas, which ultimately was a 22-20 Husker loss.
Oct. 31, 2006: Nebraska quarterback Zac Taylor speaks at a press conference.
Nov. 24, 2006: Offensive coordinator Jay Norvell hugs Zac Taylor after Nebraska won 37-14.
Nov. 24, 2006: Stewart Bradley, left, Zac Taylor and Corey McKeon celebrate defeating Colorado.
Dec. 2, 2006: Zac Taylor is pressured by Oklahoma's DeMarcus Granger in the fourth quarter of the Big 12 championship.
Dec. 2, 2006: Zac Taylor leaves the field after falling to Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship.
Jan. 1, 2007: Nebraska quarterback Zac Taylor exits the field following the Cotton Bowl.