1968: Five years after being fired by the Cleveland Browns, Paul Brown finally got a team of his own with the Cincinnati Bengals, an AFL expansion team. This was Professional Football’s third attempt at a team in Cincinnati following the Celts and Reds, who together lasted just three seasons. The Bengals played their first game in San Diego on September 6th losing to the Chargers 29-13. At Nippert Stadium on the campus of University of Cincinnati the Bengals played their first home game beating the Denver Broncos 24-10. A week later the first year Bengals won again beating the Buffalo Bills 34-23. However, the Bengals would come back down to earth winning just one of their last 11 games. One of the bright spots for the expansion Bengals was Paul Robinson who won the AFL Rookie of the Year by rushing for 1,023 yards while scoring nine Touchdowns.
1969: The second year Bengals came flying out of the gate winning their first three games including a 24-19 home win over the eventual Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs. The Bengals would once again come down to earth by losing their next four games. The pesky Bengals would stun another powerhouse in Week 8 beating the Oakland Raiders 31-17, handing the Raiders their only regular season loss. The following week the Bengals would tie the playoff bound Oilers in Houston, firmly stating the second year Bengals were not pushovers. The Bengals would close the season with five straight losses, but they earned a new respect with their 4-9-1 record, as Quarterback Greg Cook earned Rookie of the Year honors by passing for 1,854 yards.
1970: With the merger of the AFL and NFL, the Bengals were provided a rival in the Cleveland Browns who would provide instant excitement twice a year in the AFC Central. The year also marked the grand opening of Riverfront Stadium; a cookie cutter multipurpose built on the banks of the Ohio River. The Bengals opened Riverfront in style beating the Oakland Raiders 31-21. The Bengals would lose their next six games including a 30-27 loss in their first game in Cleveland. At 1-6 the Bengals third season looked like a lost season. However, the Bengals turned their season around with a 43-14 win in Buffalo over the Bills. The win was the start of a seven game winning streak that catapulted the Bengals to first place in the AFC Central. The Bengals entered the playoff on a roll as they faced the Baltimore Colts in the Divisional Playoffs in Baltimore. However, the Bengals found themselves overmatched losing 17-0 to the eventual Super Bowl Champions.
1971: The Bengals would mimic their start of the previous season by winning their first game and going on a long losing streak. However, this time the losing streak extended to 7 games, and despite the Bengals winning their next three games to improve to 4-7 the Bengals would not repeat their magical run, and would finish with a 4-10 record after losing their final three games.
1972: With Ken Anderson leading the team as Quarterback the Bengals get off to a fast start by winning four of their first five games. However, the Bengals would lose four of their next five games, and sat at 5-5 with four games to go. The Bengals would win three of their final four games to close the season with an 8-6 record, but two losses to the Cleveland Browns would cost them a shot at the postseason.
1973: With Quarterback Ken Anderson having a break out season by passing for 2,428 yards while connecting on 18 TD passes, the Bengals win the AFC Central by posting an impressive 10-4 record. This included a season ending six game winning streak that helped catapult them into a tie with Pittsburgh Steelers. The Bengals would earn the Division Title via tiebreaker, and earned a Playoff match up in Miami with the defending Super Bowl Champion Dolphins. The Bengals would play the Dolphins tight in the first half and only trailed 21-16 at halftime. However the Dolphins defense tightened up and smothered the Bengals in the second half on the way to a 34-16 win.
1974: The Bengals got off to a quick start winning four of their first five games. However, the lack of a strong running game caught up with them, as they split their next six games. At 7-4 the Bengals were still in good position to make the playoffs, but losses in their final three games ended the Bengals season in disappointment at 7-7.
1975: Led by Quarterback Ken Anderson, who passes for 3,169 yards the Bengals come flying out of the gates winning their first six games. Week 7 could have established the Bengals as a league power facing the Defending Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers at Riverfront Stadium, with first place in the AFC Central on the line. However the Bengals would end up losing 30-24 as the Steelers jumped back into first Place. The loss was just a mere bump in the road for the Bengals who would only lose two more games to finish with an 11-3 record, which was good enough for the AFC Wild Card. In the Divisional Playoffs the Bengals faced a nearly impossible task in facing the Raiders in Oakland. The Raiders would dominate the Bengals all game leading 31-14 in the 4th Quarter. Suddenly, the Bengals scored two touchdowns, needing to scoop up an on side kick to stay in the game. However, the Bengals late game lighting came up just a little short. Following the season Paul Brown would retire from coaching, to concentrate solely on his duties as Owner and General Manager.
1976: With Bill Johnson replacing the legendary Hall of Fame Coach Paul Brown, the Bengals are again a strong team posting a 10-4 record. However, the Bengals four losses all come against playoff teams giving the impression the Bengals can’t win the big game, as the Bengals are squeezed out of the playoffs. The season also marked the professional debut of Running Back Archie Griffin, the only player to win the Heisman in two straight seasons while at Ohio State. In Griffin’s rookie season he rushes for 625 yards while splitting time in the backfield with Bobby Clark.
1977: The Bengals struggle with mediocrity all season finishing with an 8-6 record, as second year Running Back Archie Griffin struggles to learn the NFL game rushing for only 549 yards, while failing to cross the end zone.
1978: The Bengals stumble out of the gates losing their first 8 games as QB Ken Anderson struggles with turnovers, and RB Archie Griffin continues to fail in the NFL. The Bengals struggles continued as they lost their next four games and sat at 1-12. However the Bengals would win their final three games to finish with a terrible 4-12 record, saving them from total embarrassment. Following the season Coach Bill Johnson is fired.
1979: Under new coach Homer Rice the Bengals struggle again losing their first six games, before stunning the Pittsburgh Steelers, who would go on to win their fourth Super Bowl in six years at Riverfront Stadium 34-10. However, the Bengals would go on to finish with their second straight 4-12 season, costing Homer Rice his job after just one season. Meanwhile Running Back Archie Griffin continued to be one of the biggest busts in NFL history.
1980: With new coach Forrest Gregg at the helm, the Bengals draft Anthony Muñoz to rebuild a depleted offensive line. The Bengals would struggle again posting a 6-10 record. However, they would sweep the Pittsburgh Steelers derailing their chances for a thirrd straight Super Bowl.
1981: The Bengals began the new season with a new look featuring orange helmets with sleek black tiger stripes. The Bengals get off to a good start winning three of their first four games in thrilling fashion. After splitting the next four games the Bengals embarked on a five game winning streak capturing the AFC Central title. The Bengals would go on to finish with the best record in the AFC at 12-4, as Quarterback Kenny Anderson won the NFL MVP, and Offensive Player of the year by passing for 3,754 yards and 29 Touchdown passes. Many of Anderson’s landed in the hands of Rookie Wide Receiver Chris Collinsworth who caught eight Touchdown passes, while gaining 1,009 receiving yards in an impressive first season. In the first ever playoff game at Riverfront Stadium the Bengals and Buffalo Bills battled back and forth, with neither team having much trouble moving the ball. With the game tied at 21 late in the 4th Quarter Ken Anderson hit Chris Collinsworth with 16-yard Game winning Touchdown Pass as the Bengals advanced to the AFC Championship Game with a 28-21 win. The Bengals hosted the San Diego Chargers in freezing temperatures where the win chill at game time was 59 degrees below 0. The Bengals would freeze the Chargers 27-7 to advance to their first ever Super Bowl.
Super Bowl XVI: The Bengals faced the San Francisco 49ers in the Pontiac, in a Super Bowl featuring two teams that finished in last place the previous season. The Bengals had no problem driving the ball down the field, but three turnovers in the red zone, had them trailing all game. The Bengals blew another opportunity as the 49ers prevented them from scoring on first down and goal from the one yard line. The Bengals would end up falling 26-21, nearly coming back trailing by as many as 16 points.
1982: In a season interrupted by a two month player strike that wipes out seven games, the Bengals finish with an impressive 7-2 record, good enough for the third seed in the eight team AFC Playoff. After a 4-0 record at Riverfront Stadium, the Bengals hosted the New York Jets in the first Round of the Playoffs. However the Bengals could not stop Jets Running Back Freeman McNeil, who rushed for 211 yards on 22 carries, as the Bengals fell 44-17, despite 356 yards passing from Ken Anderson.
1983: The Bengals stumble out of the gates losing six of their first seven games, as QB Ken Anderson struggles with interceptions. The Bengals would finish the season strong wining six of their final nine games, but with a disappointing 7-9 record, Coach Forrest Gregg was fired after the season.
1984: With former back up Quarterback Sam Wyche holding the coaching reigns, the Bengals began to look toward the future by drafting Qubarterback Boomer Easion out of Maryland. With aging QB Ken Anderson struggling the Bengals lost their first five games, on the way to a 4-8 start. With the playoffs out of question the Bengals gave Boomer a chance at Quarterback, and helped guide the Bengals to four straight wins to close the season with at 8-8.
1985: In his first full season as starting Quarterback, Boomer Easison has an impressive season passing for 3,443 yard, while connecting on 27 Touchdown passes. However, the Bengals defense struggled all season, and team struggled to finish with a 7-9 record. Wide Receiver Eddie Brown won the Offensive Rookie of the year by collecting 942 receiving yards, and scoring eight Touchdowns.
1986: Boomer Easison has another impressive season passing for 3,959 yards as the Bengals post a 10-6 record. However, in the competitive AFC the Bengals end up on the outside looking in when the playoffs begin.
1987: With a strike looming the Bengals held a lead in the closing second of Week 2 at Riverfront Stadium against the San Francisco 49ers, with a chance to start 2-0. However the 49ers stormed back and scored a winning Touchdown with no time on the clock. After the strike replacements went 1-2, the Bengals regulars returned and struggled, losing many close games, while blowing 4th Quarter leads, on the way to a disappointing 4-11 record. After the season Coach Sam Wyche was retained, with the understanding the Bengals must make the playoff for him to keep his job after 1988.
1988: The Bengals came flying out of the gate winning their first six games. Led by NFL MVP Boomer Easison, who passes 3,572 yards the Bengals would use the start to springboard them to a 12-4 record, that gave them Home Field Advantage, and the AFC Central Title. Also helping to guide the Bengals was rookie Running Back Ickey Woods who shuffled his way to 1,066 yards scoring 15 Touchdowns. Each Touchdown was capped by his trademark dance “The Ickey Shuffle as a new chant was heard at Riverfront Stadium, “Who Dey, think is gonna beat Dem Bengals.” In the Divisional Playoffs at Riverfront Stadium the Bengals offensive line led by Anthony Muñoz destroyed the Seattle Seahawks all game as the Bengals advanced to the AFC Championship with a 21-13 win. The Bengals run game was so dominating Boomer Easison only needed to throw seven passes, all of which were completed. The AFC Championship Game turned into a war as the Bengals and Buffalo Bills met in a fight filled game. The Bengals would emerge victorious earning a trip to their second Super Bowl with a 21-10 record.
Super Bowl XXIII: The Bengals were back in the Super Bowl, and once again they were facing the San Francisco 49ers, in Miami. The Bengals suffered a huge loss early when Tackle Tim Krumrie broke his leg in the 1st Quarter. However the Bengals defense would not fold, and the game went to halftime tied 3-3, it was the first Super Bowl ever tied at halftime. The Bengals would take the lead late the 3rd Quarter on a Stanford Jennings kick return, and entered the 4th Quarter with a 13-6 lead. After the 49ers tied the game 13-13, the Bengals took a lead late in the 4th Quarter on Jim Breech Field Goal. With 3:20 left in the game the Bengals only needed to stop the 49ers once to win the Super Bowl. However, Quarterback Joe Montana led the 49ers on methodical 90-yard drive that ate time, and yardage. Firmly in Field Goal Range Montana hit John Taylor in the end zone with 34 seconds left to break Bengals hearts 20-16 in one of the most dramatic moments in Super Bowl history.
1989: Coming off their trip to the Super Bowl the Bengals got off to a good start winning four of their first five games. However, the Bengals struggled losing four of their next five. At 5-5 the Bengals were in danger of missing the playoffs, over the next four weeks the Bengals traded wins and loses. Needing to win their final two games and get some help the Bengals slaughter the Houston Oilers 61-7 at Riverfront Stadium. However before the Bengals even took the field for their Monday Night season finale in Minnesota on Christmas the Bengals were eliminated from the playoffs. They would go on to lose that finale 29-21 to the Vikings.
1990: After a 3-0 start the Bengals struggle with mediocrity and sat at 7-7 with two games to go, needing to win their final two games just to have a shot at the playoffs. The Bengals would have the advantage of playing both those important games at home. After winning the first one against the Houston Oilers 40-21, the Bengals need a 4th Quarter rally to beat the Cleveland Browns 21-14 to clinch the AFC Central Title. However the Bengals 9-7 record was not good enough for a first round bye. In the first ever 3-6 game, the Bengals hosted the Oilers in Riverfront Stadium. The game would not even be close as the Bengals jumped out to a 34-0 lead, enrout to a 44-17 victory. In the Divisional Round the Bengals traveled to Los Angeles to face the Raiders. However, the Bengals would have to play without Anthony Muñoz, and would struggle all game to get first downs on the way to a 20-10 loss.
1991: Prior to the start of the season the Bengals lose their patriarch when founder Paul Brown dies at the age of 82. His son Mike would assume control of the franchise. The Bengals would stumble out the gate losing their first 8 games before beating the Cleveland Browns 23-21 at Riverfront Stadium. The Bengals would only win two more games the rest of the season finishing with a horrific 3-13 record. Following the season Coach Sam Wyche was fired.
1992: The Bengals, who were now owned by the son of legendary coach, now turned to the son of another legendary coach to lead the team on the field when the hired Dave Shula. The Bengals also raised some eyebrows when the selected Quarterback Dave Klinger in he first round. The younger Shula got off to a good start as the Bengals won their first game. However, the joy was short lived as the team lost its next six games, on the way to a 5-11 season. The lone bright spot of the season is WR Carl Pickens who earns Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. Following the season Offensive Tackle Anthony Muñoz would retire, as the Bengals moved in a new direction by trading Quarterback Boomer Esaison to the New York Jets.
1993: The Dave Klinger era at Quarterback fails right away as the Bengals lose their first ten games. The Bengals would finally get their first win against the Los Angeles Raiders 16-10, at Riverfront Stadium. After dropping their next two games the Bengals closed the season by winning two more games to finish with their second 3-13 season in three years.
1994: On October 2nd history was made at Riverfront Stadium, when Dave Shula and the Bengals faced Don Shula’s Miami Dolphins in the first father-son coaching match up in NFL history. The elder Shula would emerge victorious 23-7, as the Bengals were in the midst of a 0-8 start. The Bengals would go on to complete another 3-13 season (their third in four years), as Jeff Blake become the new Quarterback of the future, as the Dave Klinger era came to crashing end.
1995: With Jeff Blake now firmly entrenched as the starting Quarterback, the Bengals win their first two games. However, the Bengals would come back towards earth, losing their next two, heading into a rematch with Don Shula and the Miami Dolphins, in which the Bengals lost in a heartbreaker 26-23. The Bengals would go on to play competitive football the rest of the season, but could not avoid their fifth straight losing season at 7-9. However one of the season’s biggest disappointments is Running Back Ki-jana Carter who the Bengals took with second overall pick. Carter would suffer a knee injury in training camp forcing him to miss his entire rookie season. He would never full recover, in an injury plagued career.
1996: The Dave Shula era comes to a sudden end when he is fired after a 1-6 start, as Jeff Blake struggles with turnovers. Former Bengals Tight End Bruce Coslet would replace Shula as Coach. The move paid off right away as the Bengals won the first 3 games under Coslet. After losing two of their next three games, the Bengals closed the year with three straight wins to finish with an 8-8 record.
1997: After winning the first game of the season, the Bengals go into a tailspin losing their next seven games, to effectively end their playoff hopes. The struggles would cost Jeff Blake his starting Quarterback job, as Boomer Esiason who was reacquired in the off-season comes back in to lead the Bengals. With Esiason back under center the Bengals started to win as the old pro proved he had something left by connecting on 13 Touchdown passes, while only giving up two interceptions. Under Boomer the Bengals would win six of their final eight games, to finish with a 7-9 record. Just as the Bengals were ready to give Boomer Esiason the job fulltime, he get a lucrative offer from ABC to do games on Monday Night. Since he would earn more money on ABC he decided to retire.
1998: The Bengals suffer another miserable 3-13 season as new Quarterback Neil O’Donnell is sacked 30 times. Despite the poor showing by the offensive line Runnning Back Corey Dillon establishes himself as a star rushing for 1,120 yards.
1999: In the final season of football at Riverfront Stadium, now known as CINergy Field the Bengals struggle out of the gates again losing 10 of their first 11 games. After winning two straight the Bengals faced the Cleveland Browns in the final game at Riverfront Stadium. The Bengals would win the game 44-28, before losing their final two games to finish with a 4-12 record.
2000: The Bengals kicked off the season with a game against Paul Brown Stadium, against the hated Cleveland Browns. Unfortunately Bengals fans would go home unhappy as the Bengals fell 24-7. After being shutout in their next two games on the road Coach Bruce Coslet resigns, he would be replaced by Dick LeBeau. Under LeBeau the Bengals kept losing dropping their first three games under their new coach. The Bengals misery would finally come to an end on October 22nd against the Denver Broncos at the Paul. The Bengals would stun the Broncos 31-21 as Running Back Corey Dillon set a single game record by rushing for 278 yards. The Bengals would use it as springboard to win their next game in Cleveland despite not scoring a Touchdown. The Bengals offense would continue to struggle as Quarterback Akili Smith was overwhelmed by the NFL game. Corey Dillon would go on to set a team record by rushing for 1,435 yards, but with Smith’s struggles at Quarterback the Bengals finished with a terrible 4-12 record.
2001: The Bengals abandoned their plans for Akili Smith, by acquiring Quarterback John Kitna from the Seattle Seahawks. The Bengals would win their first two games with Kitna behind center, and sat at 4-3 through the first seven games of the season. However the Bengals would struggle again losing their next seven games as QB John Kitna struggled with interceptions throwing 22 while only connecting on 12 Touchdown passes. The Bengals would win their final two games to close the season with a 6-10 record for their 11 straight seasons with out a winning record. Despite the struggles Running Back Corey Dillon had another stellar year rushing for 1,315 yards.
2002: The Bengals struggles continued as they dropped their first seven games losing by average of 19 points in each game. The Bengals would take out all their frustrations in Week 8 by slaughtering the expansion Houston Texans on the road 38-38. However, the good feeling in the win would not last long as the Bengals continued to be the laughing stock of the NFL losing their next six games to fall to 1-13. In their final game at home the Bengals would stun the New Orleans Saints 20-13 to earn their second win on the season, but their would be no saving the Bengals from setting a new franchise record for losses as they finished the season with a 27-9 loss to the Buffalo Bills on the road to finish with a league worst 2-14 record. Following the season the Bengals would clean house, firing Coach Dick LeBeau and replacing him with Marvin Lewis. In addition the Bengals released Akili Smith to make room for the latest franchise Quarertback of the future Carson Palmer the 2002 Heisman Trophy winner, who they drafted at USC with the top overall pick.
2003: The Marvin Lewis era got off to a sluggish start as they dropped there first three games. However, with the exception of their first game against the Denver Broncos the Bengals were competitive all the way in losing to reigning AFC Division winners. The Bengals final got off the snide Week 4 with a solid 21-14 road winner over the Cleveland Browns. After an overtime loss to the Buffalo Bills dropped them to 1-4 the Bengals used the off week to regroup, and it paid off as they won their next two games against the Baltimore Ravens and Seattle Seahawks. Along the way a new hero emerged as Running Back Rudi Johnson playing in place of an injured Corey Dillon started to become a fan favorite with a solid 101 yard game in their upset over Seattle. After a disappointing effort on the road against the Arizona Cardinals the Bengals again relied on Rudi who rushed for 182 yards in a win against the Houston Texans. At 4-5 the Bengals were quietly playing solid football while the Kansas City Chiefs were the early story in football sitting at 9-0. Earlier in the week Chad Johnson the Bengals boisterous receiver guaranteed a win bringing some excitement to Bengal football for the first time in years. With Rudi Johnson again leading the way with 165 yards the Bengals were able to back up Chad Johnson’s words as they won 24-19 to catapult themselves into the playoff chase. The Bengals remained hot winning their next two games to enter a key Week14 match up with the Ravens with a chance to win the division. However in the key showdown for first place the Bengals showed they were not quite ready for primetime as they were beaten 31-13. The Bengals would rebound to win their next game against the San Francisco 49ers, but at 8-6 the Bengals could not get that ninth win to earn their first winning season in 13 years, finishing at 8-8.
2004: The Bengals began to focus on the future as the traded Corey Dillon to the New England Patriots clearing the way for Rudi Johnson to start at Running Back, while giving Carson Palmer the starting job at Quarterback. Palmer and the young Bengals would struggle early, losing five of their first sevengames. However, as the season wore on and Palmer grew comfortable on the field the Bengals began to win as they climbed back to .500 at 6-6, before an sprained knee sent Palmer to the sidelines in a hard fought 35-28 road loss to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Patriots. However the with wins in their final two games the Bengals would finish 8-8 for the second year in a row as Rudi Johnson finished sixth in the NFL in rushing with 1,454 yards, giving Bengals fans hope for the future.
2005: After a strong finish their was renewed optimism that the Bengals finally had a playoff contender again, feelings that would only be bolstered as the Bengals got off to a strong start winning their first four games as Carson Palmer got off to a strong start on his way to a solid 3836 yard season with 32 Touchdown passes. Receiving many of Palmer’s passes was Chad Johnson who racked up 1,432 yards in receiving with nine Touchdown, many of which were followed by unique celebrations that made him a regular star on the spots highlight shows. After splitting two road games the Bengals faced their first test of the season when they hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 7, a test the Bengals would fail as the Steelers won the game 21-13. The Bengals would recover to win the next two before facing the unbeaten Indianapolis Colts, in an offensive showcase of two of the best Quarterbacks in the NFL. Palmer would nearly match Peyton Manning throw for throw before the Colts ended up winning the game 45-37. Following a 42-29 win over the Baltimore Ravens, the Bengals faced the Steelers again this time in Pittsburgh, where the Bengals offense continued to fly behind Carson Palmer who had three Touchdown passes and 227 yards passing in an impressive 38-31 win that gave the Bengals first place in the AFC North at 9-3. The Bengals would not relinquish first place winning the next two games to clinch the division with two weeks to go. After clinching the division the Bengals played cautiously and dropped their final two games to finish with an 11-5 record. Facing the Steelers again in the playoffs Paul Brown Stadium was in a festival like atmosphere for the first Bengals playoff game in 15 years. However, the early joy would be wiped out on the Bengals second play from scrimmage as Carson Palmer is injured by a hit to the knee by Kimo von Oelhoffen while completing a 66-yard pass to Chris Henry. Despite the loss of Palmer the Bengals still got off to a strong start leading 10-0 after the 1st Quarter behind back up Jon Kitna. The Bengals would still lead by 10 points late in the 2nd Quarter before the Steelers climbed with in field goal at 17-14. While the x-rays on Palmer revealed the devastating news that he would need major reconstructive knee surgery the Steelers defense stiffened and shutdown the Bengals the rest of the way as they went on to win the game going away 31-17, launching a historic Super Bowl run completely on the road. The Bengals would just have to lick their wounds as Carson Palmer faced a long road to recovery ahead to be ready for some point during the upcoming season.
2006: After regaining credibility on the field the Bengals would become an embarrassment off the field as nine different Bengals players were either arrested or suspended for their actions off the playing field. One key player lost early was Odell Thurman suspended for the first four games of the season due to a drug-test related suspension which Odell stated was due to him skipping a test, not failing one. Thurman would later be suspended the entire season after being arrest for Drunk Driving. Meanwhile Chris Henry was a regular offender as he was arrested four different times. When the season began it was the knee of Carson Palmer that became the focus as he played well leading the Bengals to three straight wins to start the season. Against the New England Patriots in Week 4 the Bengals were exposed for the first time losing 38-13 as Palmer struggled and their defense looked vulnerable. A week later they would be stunned again as a late TD by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers handed the Bengals a 14-13 loss. After beating the Carolina Panthers 17-14, the Bengals defense continued to struggle as they would lose three straight culminating with a 49-41 loss at home to the San Diego Chargers, as LaDainian Tomlinson scored four touchdowns to spoil a 440-yard three Touchdown performance from Carson Palmer. The Bengals would rebound to win their next four games, as Carson Palmer continued to play strong football following knee surgery, ending the season with a career high 4,035 yards passing with 28 Touchdowns against 13 interceptions. However, needing to continue their winning streak against the Indianapolis Colts, the Bengals sputtered again losing 34-16. A week later the playoff slipped right out of the Bengals hands literally as Brad St. Louis snap on an extra point sailed wide of holder Kyle Larson on what would have been a game tying PAT in a heartbreaking 24-23 loss against the Broncos in snowy Denver. The Bengals would experience more heartbreak in the final game of the season as they lost their third straight to close the season 8-8, losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime 23-17 on a 67-yard Touchddown pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Santonio Holmes.
2007: After their disappointing finish the Bengals entered the season with high hopes they could get back into the playoffs as they beat the Baltimore Ravens 27-20 in a hard fought season opening game on Monday Night Football. A week later Carson Palmer was on fire passing for 401 yards and six touchdowns. However, the Bengals were unable to stop the Cleveland Browns offense and ended up on the wrong side of a 51-45 shootout in Cleveland. A week later in Seattle, the Bengals would feel more frustration as they were stunned by the Seahawks 24-21 on a Matt Hasselbeck to Nate Burrelson 22-yard Touchdown pass with one minute left. The Bengals frustrations would continue over their next two games as they fell to 1-4 with losses to the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs. Facing a fifth straight loss, the Bengals rallied to beat the New York Jets 38-31, with three touchdowns in the fourth quarter. However, the win was just a temporary up in a season full of disappointment, as they lost two of their next three games to fall to 3-7. The Bengals would end the season on a positive note winning three of their last four games, including a 19-14 win over the Browns that derailed their rival’s playoff hopes. However, a 7-9 record and a third place finish left Bengals fans feeling disappointed for the second year in a row.
2008: With Quarterback Carson Palmer struggling with a sore elbow that would limit him to four games, the Bengals would stumble out of the gate losing, their first eight games. Off the field distractions continued as Linebacker Amad Brooks was released after being charged with assault for punching a woman in the face late April, while Wide Receiver Chris Henry who was suspended for four games for his continued off field trouble was released, and then re-signed as the Bengals struggled to find offense. The Bengals would also lose Linebacker Odell Thurman, who was indefinitely suspended from the NFL for violating their substance abuse policy. Meanwhile, Chad Johnson in an effort to put Ochocinco on the back of his jersey legally has his name change to Chad Ochocinco. The Bengals would end their losing streak with a 21-19 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, which was followed up by a 13-13 tie over the Philadelphia Eagles, who would make it to the NFC Championship Game. However, the Bengals would not be able to salvage their season, as the Bengals were blown out in each of their next three games, before closing the season with three straight wins over fellow non-contenders to finish with an awful 4-11-1 record.
2009: After back to back disappointing seasons, the Bengals looked to get back on track by turning up the effort in training camp, while they were the focus of the HBO Reality Series “Hard Knocks”. However, when the season started the Bengals suffered a gut wrenching loss to the Denver Broncos, as Brandon Stokley grabbed a deflected pass and raced into the end zone for an improbable 87-yard touchdown reception in the final seconds to give the Broncos a 12-7 win. The Bengals had put up a solid defensive effort and took the lead with 38 seconds left on a one yard plunge by Cedric Benson. It would not take the Bengals long to recover as they played well on both sides of the ball to upset the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field 31-24. A week later the Bengals would record their own dramatic victory in the final minute, beating the defending champion Pittsburgh Steelers 23-20, after trailing 20-9 entering the 4th Quarter. The winning score came when Carson Palmer threw a four yard touchdown pass to WR Andre Caldwell with 18 seconds left. They continued to come up with late victories in Week 4, beating the Cleveland Browns in overtime 23-20 after a daylong back and forth battle. The comeback would continue the following week, as they stunned the Baltimore Ravens on the road 17-14, as Carson Palmer connected with Andre Caldwell again for a 20 yard TD connection with 27 seconds left, this came moments after the Ravens had taken the lead. The win helped the Bengals grab first place, earning the nickname “Cardiac Cats”. After a 28-7 setback against the Houston Texans, the Bengals slammed the Chicago Bears 45-10 to enter the bye week with a 5-2 record. After the bye the Bengals continued to rule the AFC North as they beat the Ravens again 17-7. A week later they would record an 18-12 road win over the Steelers to regain first place, sweeping the Steelers for the first time since 1998. Following a disappointing loss to the Oakland Raiders, the Bengals completed a perfect 6-0 run through the AFC North with a 16-7 victory over the Browns. After splitting the next two games, the Bengals were hit with tragedy when troubled receiver Chris Henry was killed after falling off the back of a truck following a domestic dispute with his fiancée Loleini Tonga. Henry who was on Injured Reserve appeared to be getting his life in order after early arrest trouble led to suspensions from the NFL and the Bengals releasing him. After bringing him back Henry remained arrest free and was playing well before breaking his forearm against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 9. Just a few days after the death of Henry, the Bengals had a chance to clinch the division title on the road against the San Diego Chargers. Early in the game it was clear emotions were running high for the Bengals, as Chad Ochocinco dropped to his knees after scoring a touchdown in the 1st Quarter. The game would go back and forth, but in the end the Bengals would fall to 9-5, as Nate Kaeding kicked a long 52-yard field goal to win the game for the Chargers. The Bengals would finally wrap up the division a week later by beating the Kansas City Chiefs 17-10. Already locked into a Wild Card game, the Bengals playing in the Sunday Night finale rested many starters and put up little effort as they were beaten by the New York Jets 37-0. The Bengals would finish with a 10-6 record as Marvin Lewis was named NFL Coach of the Year. Facing the Jets again six days later at Paul Brown Stadium the Bengals would score first as Carson Palmer connected with Laveranues Coles on an 11 yard TD pass. However, the Jets stormed back with two touchdowns in the 2nd Quarter. The Bengals continued to scuffle as the Jets extended the lead to 21-7, while Shayne Graham missed two Field Goals. Cedric Benson’s 47 yard Touchdown run in the 4th Quarter would get the Bengals back in the game. However, the Jets defense would prove too strong as they went on to beat the Bengals for the second straight week 24-14.
2010: Coming off a division title, the Bengals hoped they could improve on their disappointing finish as they signed WR Terrell Owens. The signing of T.O. gave the Bengals two VH-1 reality stars and a big headache, as both wanted the ball and were willing to express it at every moment. The season would get off to a rough start as they had to face the high powered New England Patriots on the road. Carson Palmer played well with 345 yards passing and two touchdowns, but it was not enough as the Patriots won the game 38-24. The Bengals would bounce back and beat the Baltimore Ravens 15-10 in their home opener, as Mike Nugent provided all the scoring with five Field Goals. The Bengals would also play well in Week 3, as they beat the Carolina Panthers on the road 20-7. However, facing the Cleveland Browns on the road a week later, the Bengals would suffer a 23-20 loss. Once again Palmer had a strong game passing for 371 yards, with two touchdowns as T.O. had a big day with 222 receiving yards, but it was not enough as the Bengals dropped to 2-2. The loss the Browns would be the start of an ugly ten game losing streak that had tempers boiling over in Cincinnati. As the season wore on QB Carson Palmer would go into a slump, throwing a career high 20 interceptions. Also struggling was Chad Ochocinco who seemed to be at 26times distracted by his budding off the field career. The Bengals would finally end their losing streak in the rematch with the Browns at Paul Brown Stadium as RB Cedric Benson, who also had a disappointing season rushed for a season high 150 yards in a 19-17 win. A week later the Bengals would win again, playing spoiler to the San Diego Chargers winning 34-20 as Carson Palmer passed for 269 yards and four touchdowns in the snow. The game would also see the emergence of WR Jerome Simpson who had two touchdown and 124 yards. The Bengals season would end with a lackluster 13-7 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, as they posted a disappointing record of 4-12. Following the season, a frustrated QB Carson Palmer would announce his retirement if the Bengals did not trade him.
2011: Coming off a frustrating season, the Bengals made several changes including getting rid of the circus surrounding Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco. To replace the star receivers the Bengals picked A.J. Green from Georgia with the fourth overall pick. With Quarterback Carson Palmer threatening retirement the Bengals would take Andy Dalton from TCU in the second round. Through the lockout and through the abbreviated preseason, the Bengals refused to even discuss a new contract or trading Palmer, as they considered him to be a retired football players as they did not buy into his bluff. When the season began, Dalton the rookie was named the starting quarterback as the Bengals had low expectations when the season began. Against the Cleveland Browns, Dalton had solid debut completing 10 of his 15 pass attempts for 81 yards and 1 touchdown, as the Bengals started the season with a 27-17 win. Andy Dalton continued to play well in Week 2, as he passed 280 yards with two touchdowns. However, the Bengals would come up short, losing to the Denver Broncos 24-22. In his home debut, Andy Dalton and the Bengals would struggle, as the rookie quarterback was picked off twice, as the San Francisco 49ers won a defensive struggle 13-8. Facing the Buffalo Bills who came into the game with a 3-0 record, the Bengals showed the ability to comeback after trailing 17-3 at halftime. Dalton would pass for 298 yards with a touchdown pass and a game tying TD run. The Bengals would go on to win the game 23-20, as Mike Nugent’s 43 yard field goal as time expired was the difference. The Bengals would improve to 3-2 with a 30-20 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, as Geno Atkin’s 10 fumble return for a TD sealed the victory in the fourth quarter. Returning home, the Bengals continued to win games, as they beat the winless Indianapolis Colts 27-17, as Carlos Dunlap’s fumble return for a TD in the fourth quarter sealed this win. After their win over the Colts, the Bengals now confident in Andy Dalton agreed to trade Carson Palmer to the Oakland Raiders, receiving the Raiders first round pick in the 2012 draft and a conditional second-round pick in the 2013 draft. Coming out of the bye week, with a 4-2 record, the Bengals faced a test on the road against the Seattle Seahawks, who traditionally have one of the best home records in the NFL. With the Bengals leading 20-12, Brandon Tate delivered a game breaking 56 yard punt return for a TD, to all but seal the game for Cincinnati. They would later add a 75 yard interception return from Reggie Nelson as they won their fourth straight game 34-12. A week later, the Bengals would post their first five game winning streak since 1988, as they scored 17 unanswered points in the second half to beat the Tennessee Titans 24-17. Leading the way in the comeback win on the road, as Andy Dalton, who had three touchdown passes. The next two weeks would provide critical tests for the Bengals in the AFC North as they faced the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens for the first time. Though they would play well in both games, the Bengals dropped to 6-4 with two straight losses by seven points each. With their season in peril, the Bengals rallied to beat the Cleveland Browns for the second time, as Mike Nugent booted the game winner with 43 seconds left. However, a week later in their rematch against the Steelers the Bengals had their worst game of the season, losing 35-7 at Heinz Field. It would be followed by the most gut wrenching loss of the season, as the Houston Texans scored ten points in the fourth quarter to stun the Bengals 20-19. The winning score came on a 92 yard drive, with T.J. Yates connecting with Kevin Walter in the endzone with eight seconds left in the game. At 7-6, the Bengals playoff chances were slipping away when they got a good team effort to beat the lowly St. Louis Rams on the road 20-13. Against the Arizona Cardinals a week later, the Bengals jumped out to an early 23-0 lead, highlighted by Jerome Simpson’s back flip into the endzone. The Cardinals would rally in the second half, but the Bengals held on to win the game 9-6 as they went into the final week of the season controlling their playoff destiny. In the final week of the season the Bengals would suffer a 24-16 loss to the Ravens at home. However, with the Oakland Raiders, New York Jets and Denver Broncos all losing the Bengals backed into the playoffs with a record of 9-7. Both the Bengals rookies had solid debut seasons, as Andy Dalton finished with 3,398 yards and 20 Touchdowns, while A.J. Green made the Pro Bowl with 1,057 yards and seven touchdowns.
2011 Playoffs: Facing the Houston Texans in the playoffs, the Bengals got off to a good start as they scored first on a one yard run by Cedric Benson. However, with the score tied 10-10, Andy Dalton made the critical rookie mistake, as he had a pass batted and intercepted at the line, by J.J. Watt, who returned it 29 yards for a touchdown. Dalton would have two more passes picked off as the Texans went on to win the game easily 31-10.
2012: After their surprise playoff appearance, the Bengals looked to show non-believers they were a legitimate playoff contender, while Quarterback Andy Dalton and Receiver A.J. Green looked to build off successful rookie seasons. Things would not go as smoothly as planned as the Bengals suffered a season opening 44-13 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football. In their home opener the Bengals had their hands full with the Cleveland Browns. With Andy Dalton passing for 318 yards with three touchdowns the Bengals would win the shootout of Ohio 34-27. A week later Dalton again had a strong day, passing for 328 yards with three scores, as A.J. Green had 183 yards in receiving to help guide the Bengals to 38-31 win over the Washington Redskins to spoil the home debut of Robert Griffin III. The Bengals would get a third straight win as they pulled away late to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars on the road 27-10. At 3-1 the Bengals were looking good for another playoff run, but as October arrived the Bengals stumbled, losing a four straight games as sloppy play and turnovers reminded fans of past Bengals failures. With their season spiraling out of control at 3-5, the Bengals hosted the defending champion New York Giants, as local fans disappointed at the Bengals play could not sell out Paul Brown Stadium, leading to a local TV blackout. The Bengals grabbed momentum early against the Giants, as Andy Dalton and A.J. Green connected on a 56 yard Touchdown pass. It marked the eighth straight game Green caught a TD pass, which was the second longest streak in team history. The Bengals continued the momentum with a big punt return by PacMan Jones which helped the Bengals get a 17-6 halftime lead. The Bengals would pick off Eli Manning twice in the 3rd Quarter as Dalton added two more TD passes to end the Bengals losing streak with a 31-13 upset win over the Giants. With A.J. Green extending his Touchdown reception streak to nine games, during a 28-6 road win against the Kansas City Chiefs that got the Bengals record even at 5-5. Green’s streak would end the following week, but Andy Dalton continued to roll with three passes as the Bengals improved to 6-5 with an easy 34-10 win over the Oakland Raiders. Following a 20-13 road win over the San Diego Chargers, the Bengals looked to be closing in on a fifth straight win as they held a nine point 4th Quarter lead over the Dallas Cowboys thanks to four Josh Brown Field goals at Paul Brown Stadium. However, the Cowboys would rally and win the game with ten unanswered points as Dan Bailey won the game 20-19 with a 40 yard Field Goal as time expired. The Bengals would recover four days later with an impressive 34-13 Thursday Night win over the Philadelphia Eagles. A week later the Bengals would get their second straight win in the State of Pennsylvania as the beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 33-10 to secure their second straight playoff berth. It was the first time the Bengals beat the Steelers since 2009, and marked just the second time in franchise history that the Bengals had made the playoffs in two straight seasons. The Bengals would go on to finish the year with a record of 10-6, beating the Baltimore Ravens 23-17 in the final game of the season.
2012 Playoffs: The Bengals with their second straight playoff appearance would find themselves back at Reliant Stadium as they faced the Houston Texans for the second straight season. The Bengals offense would be bogged down all game as they were unable to find the endzone against the Texans defense. However, in the 2nd Quarter they briefly held a 7-6 lead after Leon Hall return an interception for a touchdown. The Bengals would manage just two field goals in the second half, as the Texans held on to win the gamed 19-13, extending Cincinnati’s postseason losing streak to five games.
2013: Coming off two straight playoff appearances, the Bengals hoped to make a step forward as they began the season on the road against the Chicago Bears. Things looked good early, for the Bengals as they built a 21-10 lead in the third quarter. However, a costly fumble by Mohgammed Sanu seemed to stop the Bengals in their tracks as the Bears rallied to win the game 24-21. The Bengals home opener would come against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football. After playing the first 30 minutes evenly at 10-10, the Bengals defense shut down the Steelers offense completely in the second half, while Giovani Bernard had a 27 yard TD reception to go along with his first half seven yard touchdown run to lead the Bengals to a 20-10 win. In Week 3, the Bengals would host the Green Bay Packers and got off to a fast start with BenJarvis Green-Ellis and Giovani Bernard scoring 12 seconds apart thanks to a muffed kick-off by Jeremy Ross. However, the Bengals would begin playing fast and loose with the ball as M.D. Jennings returned a Green-Ellis fumble for a touchdown in the second quarter as the Packers rallied to take a 30-14 lead in the 3rd Quarter. The Bengals would find their footing as Andy Dalton connected with A.J. Green on a 20 yard touchdown late in the third quarter to get themselves back in the game. Dalton would connected with Marvin Jones to get closer in the fourth. Still trailing 30-27 with the Packers attempting to run out the clock, the Bengals got a big break as Anthony Quarles knocked the ball lose from Reggie Nelson. Jonathan Franklin would pick the ball up at the Bengals 42 yard line and return it 68 yards for a TD to win the game 34-30.The win marked the first time in NFL history that a team led by 14, fell behind by 16 points and rallied to win the game. After their crazy win over the Packers, the Bengals suffered a major letdown on the road losing to the Cleveland Browns 17-6. The Bengals would come home and find themselves in another defensive struggle against the New England Patriots in Week 5. After trading Field Goals in the second quarter, the Bengals took control with a 50 yard Field Goal from Mike Nugent in the third quarter, while BenJarvis Green-Ellis found the endzone in the 4th Quarter to give the Bengals a 13-3 lead. The Pats would get closer as Stepgen Gostkowski hit a Field Goal, and had the ball at midfield with Tom Brady looking to tie the game and extend his streak of 42 games with a TD pass. However, in a driving rain shower, Adam Jones made an interception to seal the 13-6 win. After losing their first two road games, the Bengals finally appeared to find their way beyond Paul Brown Stadium as they dominated the Buffalo Bills and build a 24-10 lead, with Andy Dalton having his best game of the season to date with 337 yards and three touchdowns. However, the Bills would stun the Bengals with two fourth quarter scores to send the game to overtime. In overtime after an unsuccessful first drive, the Bengals pinned the Bills deep on a perfect punt by Kevin Huber. After a three and out the Bengals got a big return from Brandon Tate to set up Nugent to win the game 27-24 with a 43 yard Field Goal. Mike Nugent would win another game a week later with a 54 yard Field Goal to beat the Detroit Lions 27-24 at Ford Field, as Dalton was solid again, passing for 372 yards with three touchdowns. Returning home the Bengals would get their first laugher of the season, beating the New York Jets 49-9, as Andy Dalton had five touchdown passes four of which were caught by Marvin Jones. The Bengals laugher would help them rest in the 4th Quarter as they had a Thursday Night Game on the road against the Miami Dolphins. Things looked bleak early as the Dolphins took a 17-3 lead in the 3rd quarter on a 94 yard interception return by Brent Grimes. Making matters worse Leon Hall and Geno Atkins both suffered season ending injuries. However, Givonai Bernard would bring the Bengals back with two touchdowns, including a 35 yard run that left every one of the Dolphins busy picking up their shoes as he slipped and twist them in knots. The two teams would trade Field Goals late in the 4th Quarter as the game went to overtime. After being pinned down in their own territory the game would come to a sudden and shocking end as Dalton was sacked in the endzone for a walk off safety as Miami won 22-20. The Bengals looked to have a hangover as they fell behind the Baltimore Ravens 17-0 at the half. The Bengals would scratch and claw their way back in the second half, and tie the game on a miraculous Hail Mary catch by A.J. Green on the final play of regulation. However, there would be no miracles in overtime as the Ravens won the game in overtime 20-17 on a Justin Tucker Field Goal. The Bengals receiving the ball first in overtime got the ball down to the Ravens 33, but with the new rules giving each side at least one possession unless the first team possession the ball scored a TD, influenced the Bengals to go for it on 4th down. The Bengals continued their tail spin into Week 11, as they trailed the Browns 13-0 following a pick six by Joe Haden. However, the Bengals would spring to life with a 31 point second quarter eruption at the PBS. The Bengals scored almost all ways imaginable, with a blocked punt and interception return, following receptions from Jermaine Gresham and Mohamed Sanu. The Bengals would win the game 38-20 to hit the bye week with a 7-4 record. Following the bye week the Bengals won a road game with their defense beating the San Diego Chargers 17-10, and came home and won a shootout with the Indianapolis Colts 42-28. Despite suffering a 30-20 loss to the Steelers on the road, the Bengals would win the division title with a record of 11-5 as they closed the season playing some of their best football of the year beating the Minnesota Vikings 42-14 and the Ravens 34-17. Andy Dalton had another solid season, passing for 4,293 yards with 33 touchdowns, while rookie RB Giovani Bernard was a two way threat with 1,209 All-Purpose yards and eight touchdowns. A.J. Green also had another fine season with 1,426 yards on 98 catches with 14 TDs.
2013 Playoffs: After winning all eight games at home, the Bengals went into the Wild Card Game against the San Diego Chargers confident they could win their first playoff game in 23 years. After trailing 7-0 after the first quarter, the Bengals appeared to be in good shape as they went into halftime with a 10-7 lead. However, the Bengals would unravel in the second half as they committed four turnovers, with Andy Dalton having a nightmarish game with two interceptions and two fumbles. The Bengals would go on to lose their sixth straight playoff game 27-10 despite dominating the game in time of possession and total yardage.
2014: Looking to win a second straight division title, the Cincinnati Bengals started the season with the Baltimore Ravens on the road. The Bengals dominated the first half, but could not find the end zone, as Mike Nugent provided all the scoring with five Field Goals. The Ravens would answer in the second half and briefly took the lead as Joe Flacco hit Steve Smith Sr. on an 80 yard touchdown pass. The Bengals would answer less than a minute later as Andy Dalton connected with A.J. Green on a 77 yard TD. Dalton would add two point play and went on to win the game 23-16. Dalton used the big play again in Week 2 with a 76 yard Touchdown to Mohammed Sanu as they beat Atlanta Falcons 24-10 to improve to 2-0 in their home opener. One player who quickly became a fan favorite was Devon Still, whom the Bengals kept on their roster so his 4-year old daughter Leah Still could benefit from his NFL Player Insurance policy while she battled Leukemia. The Bengals would eventually reach 3-0, beating the Tennessee Titans 33-7, as they held the Titans scoreless for most of the game. With a chance to make a statement in primetime the Bengals came out flat in Foxboro losing to the New England Patriots 43-17 as three costly fumbles and a sloppy defense doomed their hopes right from the start. The Bengals defense did not any better in Week 6 as they gave up 34 points in regulation. Fortunately their own offense was just as strong as they went back and forth and into overtime. In overtime the Bengals drove down the field on their first possession and got a Field Goal from Mike Nugent. However, with a chance to answer the Panthers also got a Field Goal, the Bengals again drove down the field and looked to be well on their way to win when Nugent missed a 36 yard Field Goal, ending the game in a 37-37 draw. A banged up offensive line would conspire to one of the worst games in Bengals history as they had trouble just getting the ball over midfield and lost to the Indianapolis Colts 27-0 and managed just 135 yards total offense. Needing to rebound in Week 8, the Bengals got off to a strong start against the Ravens at home. Things looked good when they jumped out to a 17-6 lead in the third quarter. However, like their Week 1 meeting the Bengals struggled as the Ravens blew past them the lead on a pair of field goals by Lorenzo Taliaferro. Staring another loss in the face the Bengals would drive down the field 80 yards in 11 plays, with Andy Dalton diving into the end zone for the winning score as Cincinnati improved to 4-2-1 with a 27-24 win. Following an easy 33-23 win over the Jacksonville Jagaurs the Bengals had another primetime failure as they lost to the Cleveland Browns 24-3 at home on Thursday Night Football. Andy Dalton was horrendous, completing just ten of 33 passes for 86 yards as he had three interceptions. Following their primetime dud, the Bengals would reel off three straight wins on the road, beating the New Orleans Saints, Houston Texans and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bengals went into December holding a record of 8-3-1 as they hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers with first place on the line. The game was exciting throughout as the Bengals took a 21-17 lead on an 81 yard pass play from Andy Dalton to A.J. Green on the final play of the third quarter. However, the final 15 minutes would be an absolute disaster for Cincinnati as the Steelers scored 25 unanswered points highlighted by a 94 yard pass play by Ben Roethlisberger to Martavis Bryant to blow the game open, winning 42-21. Following their collapse against Pittsburgh, the Bengals went north and took out their frustrations on the Browns, embarrassing hyped rookie Johnny Manziel all game as they Heisman winner completed just ten passes and was picked off twice as the Bengals blanked the Browns 30-0 and allowed 107 yards total offense. In the next to last game of the season the Bengals finally ended their primetime curse as they beat the Denver Broncos 37-28 on Monday Night. Things looked bad early as Andy Dalton had an interception returned 33 yards for a touchdown by Aqib Talib. However, the Bengals bounced back quickly on a thrilling 85 yard run by Jeremey Hill. The Bengals defense would frustrate Peyton Manning all night with four interceptions, including a pick six by Dre Kirkpatrick to seal the win. With the AFC North on the line in the season finale, the Bengals again in primetime on Sunday Night Football played well and were within a Field Goal late against the Steelers at Heinz Field. The Steelers though had the answers as Antonio Brown caught a 63 yard pass from Roethlisberger to seal the 27-17 win. Despite the loss the Bengals at 10-5-1 still qualified as a Wild Card team.
2014 Playoffs: Returning to the site of their worst loss of the season the Cincinnati Bengals faced the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium in the Wild Card Round. After being shutout in Week 7, the Bengals did manage to find the end zone if the first quarter with Jeremy Hill scoring on a one yard run. The Bengals would keep the game close in the first half as the Colts held a 13-10 lead, as Mike Nugent nailed a 57 yard Field Goal just before halftime. The second half would be all Colts, as they scored 13 unanswered points and won the game 26-10. Once again the Bengals offense faltered in the playoffs, as Andy Dalton completed 18 of 35 passes for 155 yards. The loss was Marvin Lewis sixth straight in the playoffs as the Bengals remained winless in the postseason since 1990, with seven straight defeats overall.
2015: After four straight trips to the playoffs and four straight first round exits, success in the regular season no longer was the test for the Cincinnati Bengals, who needed to final prove they could win a playoff game. The Bengals started the season strong, beating the Oakland Raiders 33-13, as Tyler Eifert had two touchdown receptions and Jeremy Hill had two touchdown runs. In their home opener a week later, Andy Dalton again was solid passing for 214 yards, with three touchdowns as the Bengals beat the San Diego Chargers 24-19. In their first divisional game of the season the Bengals defense enabled them to break out early as Andy Dalton had two touchdowns to help build a 14-0 lead. In the second half it was the Ravens would answer, C.J. Mosely returned a fumble 41 yards to take a 17-14 lead in the fourth quarter. After trading scores, the Bengals would go in front to stay when Dalton who passed for 383 yards hit A.J. Green for his third touchdown pass of the game to earn 28-24 win. Returning home the Bengals defense showed the ability to bend but not break as they allowed seven Field Goals to Cairo Santos. Meanwhile, Jeremy Hill scored three times to lead the way to a 36-21 victory. After their first 4-0 start in a decade things looked bleak in Week 5, as they trailed the Seattle Seahawks 24-7 at the start of the fourth quarter. However, with Andy Dalton hitting Tyler Eifert for a ten yard scoring pass and running in a second one from five yards out, the Bengals clawed their way back. The Bengals comeback would complete the comeback with Mike Nugent forcing overtime with a 31-yard boot. Nugent would later hit a 42 yarder in overtime to win the game 27-24. With Andy Dalton passing for 243 yards with three touchdowns the Bengals improved to 6-0 for the first time since 1988 by beating the Buffalo Bills 34-21. Following their bye week, the Bengals found themselves in a physical defensive battle against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. Vontaze Burfict raised the ire of the Steelers when a hit on Le’Veon Bell caused an ACL injury, ending the Steelers top rusher’s season. Trailing 10-6 at the start of the fourth quarter, the Bengals took the lead when A.J. Green caught a nine yard pass from Dalton. Adding a Field Goal by Mike Nugent the Bengals would win the game 16-10. Four days later, the Bengals reached 8-0 for the first time in team history by beating the Cleveland Browns 31-10. It was a breakout performance for Tight End Tyler Eifert as he caught three touchdown passes, giving him nine touchdowns on the season for a new record for Bengals Tight Ends. Returning home, the Bengals would see their winning streak come to an end as they were beaten by the Houston Texans 10-6, with A.J. Green’s fourth quarter fumble ending all hopes of a comeback. A week later the Bengals would face former quarterback Carson Palmer for the first time as they traveled to the desert to face the Arizona Cardinals. The game would go back and forth as Eifert and Hill each had two scores, while Palmer had four touchdown passes. In the end the Cardinals would win the Sunday Night Game 34-31 on a 32-yard Field Goal by Chandler Catanzaro, which was aided by an ill-timed 15-yard penalty by Domata Peko. Facing the St. Louis Rams, the Bengals got back on track with a 31-7 win, as Andy Dalton had three touchdown tosses. Following a 37-3 thrashing of the Browns, the Bengals stood on the verge of getting home field advantage in the playoffs as the hosted the Steelers with a chance to clinch the division title. However, early in the game Andy Dalton suffered a broken thumb as the Steelers spoiled the celebration with a 33-10 win. In the game backup A.J. McCarron showed some positive signs, passing for 280 yards with two touchdowns, including a 66-yard hook up with A.J. Green. However, a late pick six prevented the comeback. In his first start a week later, McCarron proved himself an effective game manager as the Bengals beat the San Francisco 49ers 33-20. Playing on Monday Night Football a week later, the Bengals who already had the AFC North in their pockets looked to clinch a playoff bye against the Denver Broncos. Early on things looked good at Paul Brown Stadium, as they took an early 14-0 lead. The Broncos would rally and take a 17-14 lead in the fourth quarter. After Mike Nugent forced overtime with a season long 52 yard Field Goal, the Broncos marched down the field, but only got three points giving the Bengals a chance to win over equal the Field Goal. However, McCarron fumbled a snap, allowing the Broncos to hold on for a 23-20 win. The Bengals would end the regular season with a 24-16 win over the Ravens, which equaled the best season in franchise history. However, due to the loss to the Broncos the Bengals would be forced to play in the Wild Card round as the #3 seed.
2015 Playoffs: Andy Dalton remained on the sidelines for the Wild Card Round against the Pittsburgh Steelers, tough a return for the Divisional Round seemed possible if the Bengals were able to advance. With rain falling off and on at Paul Brown Stadium the AFC North rivalry reached new intense levels as personal fouls became the story of the game. Things looked bleak for the Bengals as they trailed 15-0 at the end of three quarters. However, on the last play of the third quarter things began to turn in Cincinnati’s favor as Vontaze Burfict drove Steelers Quarterback Ben Rohlisberger into the ground, while forcing a fumble. Roethlisberger was forced to leave the game with a shoulder injury, as the Bengals got on the board on a one yard run by Jeremy Hill. The Steelers offense would stall without Ben Roethlisberger, as Mike Nugent drew them closer with a 36-yard Field Goal. After another three and out, Adam Jones with a 25-yard punt return gave the Bengals the ball in Pittsburgh territory. After a nine yard conversion on 4th-down and two, the Bengals would take the lead with A.J. McCarron connecting with A.J. Green on 25-yard score with 1:50 left in the game. The margin though remained slim as the two point try failed leaving the score in favor of the Bengals 16-15. Following the kickoff the Bengals appeared to have victory in their hands when Vontaze Burfict picked off Landry Jones at the Steelers 26. Paul Brown Stadium was a madhouse as Burficit ran the ball the wrong way all the way back to the tunnel. Fortunately he was touched down or it would have been a safety giving the Steelers a lead. Since Pittsburgh still had their timeouts the Bengals still had work to do only leading by a single point with 1:45 left. The Bengals knew even with a score the Steelers had a chance to tie the game, and with Ben Roethlisberger back on the sideline wearing the helmet the strategy was get a first down and force the Steelers to use their timeouts and chew up the clock. That would quickly go out the window as Jeremy Hill had the ball stripped at the 11-yardline on his first carry after the interception. Suddenly things were in doubt in Cincinnati as Roethlisbeger and the Steelers had the ball back. With the ball on their own 11, and being unable to throw deep the Bengals just needed to stop the Steelers from getting in Field Goal range. After several short completions the Steelers faced 4th down and three and their own 37, but with a 12 yard pass to Antonio Brown got new life. On the next play Roethlisberger would attempt to hit Brown again, but as the pass arrived so did Vontaze Burfict who nailed Brown right to the head. The hit was ruled to be a dangerous play and a flag was thrown on the play. The Bengals compounded the problem as Burfict and Adam Jones shoved the officials resulting in a second 15-yard penalty. The Steelers would now have the ball deep in Bengals territory allowing Chris Boswell to win the game 18-16 with a 35-yard Field Goal. It was the fifth straight season the Bengals lost in the Wild Card round and this one was the cruelest most gut wrenching loss to date. After the season it was announced that Vontaze Burfict who was also ejected for the hit on Antonio Brown would be suspended for the first three games on the 2016 season as repeat offender for dangerous play.
2016: The Cincinnati Bengals were still feeling the effect of their playoff collapse against the Pittsburgh Steelers as Vontaze Burfict was suspended for the first three games for repeated violations of player safety. Opening the season against the New York Jets, the Bengals found themselves in a surprising struggle. Down by two points, Andy Dalton drove them down the field in the final two minutes, setting up Mike Nugent to win the game 23-22 on a 55-yard field with 54 seconds left. A.J. Green was Cincinnati’s star of the game with 12 catches for 180 yards and a touchdown. On a rainy day at Heinz Field, the Bengals renewed their rivalry with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Andy Dalton passed for 366 yards, but the Bengals settled for field goals three times and lost the game 24-16. A week later in their home opener, the Bengals suffered another letdown losing to the Denver Broncos 29-17 as Trevor Siemian shredded their defense for four touchdown passes. Four days later the Bengals got a boost as Burfict returned to the lineup, in a 22-7 win over the Miami Dolphins as Mike Nugent had five field goals, with the Bengals continuing to struggle in the Red Zone. A week later, the Bengals were not as fortunate falling to the Dallas Cowboys 28-14 as Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 134 yards with a pair of touchdowns. The Bengals defense struggled again a week later, as they suffered a 35-17 loss to the New England Patriots in Foxboro. Returning home, the Bengals got back on track by beating the Cleveland Browns 31-17 as Jeremey Hill had a big day rushing for 168 yards with a touchdown. The Bengals than traveled across the pond to London for a game against the Washington Redskins. The teams battled back and forth but settled nothing as the game ended in a 27-27 tie. Following their trip to London, the Bengals hit the bye week at 3-4-1, when they came back their season began to unravel as they suffered a 21-20 Monday Night loss to the New York Giants in their second trip to the Meadowlands on the season. A week later they returned home and lost A.J. Green to a hamstring injury. Without their leading receiver, the Bengals struggled to move the ball and suffered a 16-12 loss to the Buffalo Bills. The Bengals would suffer a third straight loss in Week 12, falling to the Baltimore Ravens 19-12. With their playoff hopes fading the Bengals picked off Carson Wentz three times and beat the Philadelphia Eagles 32-14. A week later they beat the Browns 23-10 to again sweep the battle of Ohio and keep their faint playoff hopes alive at 5-7-1. However, a week later the rival Steelers came into Cincinnati and added to the Bengals frustrations recording a 24-20 win to hand the Bengals their first losing season since 2010. Against the Houston Texans on Christmas Eve, the Bengals suffered, even more, frustration as they suffered a 12-10 loss, with Randy Bullock missing a potential game-winning field goal as time expired. Bullock was signed two weeks earlier to replace Mike Nugent who was cut for too many missed field goals. The Bengals would end the season with a 27-10 win over the Ravens to finish at 6-9-1.
2017: After failing to make the playoffs, the Cincinnati Bengals hoped to get back on track as they sought their first playoff win since 1990. The Bengals took some gambles in the draft taking John Ross from Washington with the ninth pick while picking up troubled running back Joe Mixon out of Oklahoma as they looked to give their fans hope that the offense could expand beyond the overused Andy Dalton to A.J. Green connection. The season didn’t get off to a great start, losing the first three games of the season, including a 20-0 loss at home to the Baltimore Ravens to open the season. The Bengals continued to spin their wheels four days later as they suffered a 13-9 loss to the Houston Texans on Thursday Night Football. In Week 3 against the Green Bay Packers, the Bengals finally got their offense on track, but still came up short losing in overtime 27-24. Lucky for the Bengals and the citizens of Cincinnati, a Week 4 matchup with the Cleveland Browns was right around the corner. Cleveland allowed Cincinnati to right the ship in the battle of Ohio 31-7 at FirstEnergy Stadium. Following their glimpse of success in Cleveland was a 20-16 victory over the Buffalo Bills. Against the Bills defense, Andy Dalton amassed 328 passing yards, 189 of which were to A.J. Green, including a 77-yard touchdown connection on the Bengals first play from scrimmage. After holding a 2-3 record during their bye week, the Bengals looked to get back in the playoff conversation as they faced the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 7. Sadly, they would be without one of their top weapons as Tyler Eifert was placed on season-ending Injured Reserve for the third time in five seasons as they suffered a lackluster 29-14 loss. A week later they bounced back at home, beating the Indianapolis Colts 24-23 as Carlos Dunlap’s pick-six in the fourth quarter was the difference maker. In Week 9 the Bengals lack of discipline hurt them again as A.J. Green was ejected for fighting Jalen Ramsey as the Bengals sputtered on the road in a 23-7 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Against the Tennessee Titans a week later, the Bengals got another big play from Green who caught a 70-yard pass in the fourth quarter to give Cincy a 20-17 lead. However, the Titans rallied and won 24-20 on a last-minute touchdown by DeMarco Murray, dropping to 3-6 on the season. In Week 11, the Bengals collected their first win in the Mile High City since 1975, with a 24-20 win over the Denver Broncos. Coming home, the Bengals got a big game by Joe Mixon as they won a seventh straight game against the lowly Browns 30-16, as their Buckeye State neighbors to the north went 0-16. Looking to get back to .500, the Bengals hosted the Steelers on Monday Night Football, taking a 17-0, early in the second quarter. In typical Bengals primetime fashion, the Steelers would outscore the Bengals 23-3 the rest of the way, locking up a 23-20 win, thanks to a 38-yard Chris Boswell field goal with four seconds remaining. It was the sixth straight loss to the Pittsburgh and felt like the nail in the coffin of the Bengals playoff hopes. A week later, the Bengals came out flat against the Chicago Bears at Paul Brown Stadium, losing 33-7. The Bengals woes continued in Week 15 as they faced former defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer who guided the Minnesota Vikings to a 34-7 victory, securing the Bengals their second consecutive losing season. Andy Dalton’s passer rating of 27.3 was enough for Marvin Lewis to waive the white flag and bring in backup A.J. McCarron, who didn’t fare much better, completing three passes for 19 yards in the mop-up role. The Week 15 loss and lack of inspired play of the Bengals appeared to spell the end of the Marvin Lewis Era in Cincinnati. After being dismantled by the Bears and Vikings in consecutive weeks, the Bengals bounced back with a 26-17 victory over the Detroit Lions, eliminating Detroit from playoff contention. Leading the way was Andy Dalton who had 238 passing yards and Gio Bernard who rushed for 116 yards on 23 attempts. The Bengals liked the feeling of playing the spoiler role, so they took that same attitude into Week 17 in Baltimore. The Ravens needed simply to win to earn a playoff spot, but the Bengals had other plans. The Bengals started the contest with a 7-0 lead thanks to Andy Dalton and tight end Tyler Kroft, their first of two scores together. The game would be a back and forth battle with the Ravens holding a 27-24 lead late in the fourth quarter. With time winding down, the Bengals ruined the Ravens playoff hopes when Andy Dalton connected with Tyler Boyd on a 49-yard touchdown, facing fourth and 12. The play vaulted the e Bengals to a 31-27 victory and eliminating the Ravens from the playoff picture. With the Ravens loss, the Buffalo Bills ended their 17-year postseason drought, which sparked over $415,000 in donations from Buffalo fans to Andy Dalton’s charity, the Andy and Jordan Dalton Foundation as the Bengals posted a record of 7-9. After the strong finish under Marvin Lewis’ leadership, the Brown family felt Marvin had earned an opportunity to return, giving him a two-year contract extension.
Written by Mac of Milliron Sports (@BennyMacBlog)
©MMXVIII Tank Productions. Stats researched by Frank Fleming, all information, and team names are property of the National Football League. This site is not affiliated with the Cincinnati Bengals or the National Football League. This site is maintained for research purposes only. All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page.
Page created on June 27, 2002. Last updated on September 18, 2017 at 11:30 pm ET.