Cincinnati Bengals Last Season Performance
The Cincinnati Bengals look to build off a historic 2021 season. After winning the AFC North with a 10-7 record, the Bengals notched their first playoff win since 1990. Cincinnati’s incredible run began with a wild-card victory over the Raiders, followed by road wins over the Titans and Chiefs. The Bengals found ways to win close games thanks to Joe Burrow and excellent defense.
In the Super Bowl, Cincy fell to the Rams, 23-20. This was the franchise’s third Super Bowl appearance and first since 1989. The Bengals are still chasing their first Super Bowl. With an up-and-coming core, Cincinnati is in prime position to make noise for years to come.
Last season was full of bright spots. Coming off a major knee injury, Burrow was elite. Entering his third season, some already consider Burrow a top 5 QB. In addition, rookie Ja’Marr Chase had a record-setting year with 1,455 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns. On defense, Logan Wilson, Chidobe Awuzie, D.J. Reader and Trey Hendrickson had great seasons.
Cincinnati Bengals Key Additions
Offensive line was the Bengals’ clear weakness. Burrow was hounded in the playoffs, being sacked 19 times. Cincinnati’s star signal-caller was sacked 70 times including the regular-season and playoffs, which ranks as the third-most in NFL history.
This offseason, Cincy signed center Ted Karras, guard Alex Cappa and right tackle La’el Collins. All were signed to bargain deals, especially Cappa and Collins. Jonah Williams — who comes off a solid season — will start at left tackle. Left guard could be 2022’s only concern with Jackson Carman in position to start.
Elsewhere, the Bengals drafted safety Daxton Hill, cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt and defensive tackle Zachary Carter. Hill can make an immediate impact as a do-it-all player in the secondary. Also, Taylor-Britt will be an X-factor as he looks to pass Eli Apple for starting cornerback.
Cincinnati Bengals Key Subtractions
Cincinnati lost a handful of minor pieces in free agency. Defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi signed a one-year deal with the divisional rival Steelers. Initially, Ogunjobi agreed to a lucrative deal with the Bears, but Chicago backed out after he failed a physical. The Bengals re-signed B.J. Hill, Josh Tupuo and drafted Carter out of Florida. Ogunjobi only played in the wild-card game due to an injury, proving Cincy can have success without the veteran DT.
Furthermore, tight end C.J. Uzomah signed a three-year, $24 million deal with the Jets. Last season, Uzomah had a career-high 493 receiving yards. The Bengals signed Hayden Hurst to a cheaper one-year, $3.5 million deal. Cincinnati still has a solid starting tight end for the upcoming season.
Overall, the Bengals have all major players back.
Cincinnati Bengals Head Coach Analysis
Entering the 2021 season, Zac Taylor was on the hot seat with a 6-25 record. Taylor received more criticism after questionable offensive play-calling to start the season. Some were calling for Taylor’s job.
After thoroughly defeating the Ravens for the second time, Taylor’s job felt secure. One week later, Cincinnati took down the red-hot Chiefs (34-31) and clinched the AFC North. This was the Bengals’ first playoff berth since 2015.
In the playoffs, Taylor proved he’s here to stay. Time and time again, the Bengals won close games advancing to the next round. It was clear the players rallied around Taylor’s leadership and had immense respect for the young coach.
Going forward, Taylor’s trajectory is on the rise. At 39 years old, he is one of the NFL’s youngest Head Coaches. With a young core by Taylor’s side, the franchise is in a great position.
Cincinnati Bengals Injured Players at the Beginning of the Season
Last season, Cincy was one of the healthiest teams in the league. Some players missed a couple of games, but no major contributor missed extended time. The Bengals look just as healthy for the upcoming season.
In 2021, Joseph Ossai was expected to be a rotational edge-rusher but missed his rookie season with a meniscus injury. Entering the 2022 season, Ossai is expected to play in Week 1. The former Longhorn is generating offseason hype as a potential breakout player.
Third-year receiver Tee Higgins played through a torn labrum last year while recording 1,091 receiving yards. After offseason shoulder surgery, Higgins will be ready for opening weekend.
Cincinnati Bengals Offense
Last season, Cincinnati had three brilliant showings with over 40 points. However, the Bengals’ offense has room to grow. The offense lacked consistency as it struggled in several games. A poor offensive line held back explosive players.
This year, the O-line should be much improved. Burrow can be more effective with better protection. This also gives more opportunities to Chase, Higgins and Tyler Boyd. The run game will be more consistent with improved blocking. Joe Mixon comes off one of his best seasons with 1,205 rushing yards.
The offense is trending in every spot. In 2021, Cincinnati’s offense showed it can be one of the NFL’s best. The Bengals will look for more consistent scoring.
Cincinnati Bengals Defense
Defensive Coordinator Lou Anarumo was Cincy’s unsung hero. The 2021 defense was one of the most underrated units in the league with solid production at every level. Reader was one of the best run-stuffing defensive tackles, Wilson was an emerging star at linebacker, Awuzie had a career-best season and Hendrickson solidified himself as a premier edge-rusher.
The odds-defying Super Bowl run was made possible thanks to elite defense. For instance, the Bengals held the Chiefs to three points in the second half of the AFC Championship. Anarumo was truly a play-calling maestro.
For 2022, Cincinnati’s defense has nearly everything. Cornerback is the one glaring concern. Awuzie as the No. 1 corner and Mike Hilton in the slot are respectable. However, the No. 2 CB is a problem. Trae Waynes was cut after two years full of injuries. Eli Apple will likely start at the beginning of the season. That is not ideal; Cincinnati needs a cornerback to emerge.
Cincinnati Bengals Special Teams
The Bengals are set at kicker with Evan McPherson. He comes off a record-setting rookie season, converting 84.8% of field-goal attempts. McPherson missed five field goals on the year, two were from 50 yards or more and three were from 40-49 yards. The former Gator broke Cincinnati’s franchise record for most 50-yard field goals.
McPherson was automatic in the postseason, going 14-of-14. This set the record for most field goals made by a rookie in the playoffs. Also, it tied the record for most field goals in one postseason.
Kevin Huber has been the Bengals’ punter since 2009. Drue Chrisman enters his second year with the Bengals after going undrafted in 2021. Chrisman could become starting punter with a dominant offseason. However, Huber is the favorite to start entering his 14th season.
Cincinnati Bengals Prediction for the 2022 Season
Expect Cincinnati to compete for the AFC North. The Bengals have a complete roster that continues to grow. While it’s unlikely Cincy makes the Super Bowl again, this should be a playoff team.
With a healthy roster, the Ravens will be a more formidable test. Plus, the Browns will be a major threat if Deshaun Watson plays. More than likely, the AFC North will be a two-horse race with the Bengals and Ravens. Baltimore has the leg up with an easier schedule.
The Bengals will have an elite offense with explosive playmaking. Every category should improve with an enhanced offensive line. The defense has more question marks. Cincy’s X-factor could be finding another solid starting corner to pair with Awuzie and Hilton.
Cincinnati Bengals Final Thoughts
Cincinnati has a difficult schedule with games against the Bills, Buccaneers, Titans and Cowboys. The schedule is almost exclusively made of playoff contenders. The Jets, Dolphins, Falcons and Panthers look like the easiest games.
This will be one of the NFL’s most entertaining squads. Burrow and Co. form an exciting core that oozes confidence. The Bengals’ offensive line has a legit shot of becoming a top 10 unit. If that happens, Cincy could make another Super Bowl run.
Ossai, Taylor-Britt and Hill are x-factors on defense. Each player has star potential that could take Cincinnati’s defense to the next level. Keep an eye on the Jessie Bates situation. Trade rumors could heat up since Bates is unhappy with a franchise tag.
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Cincinnati Bengals FAQs
How many Super Bowls have the Bengals won?
Since the franchise’s inaugural season in 1968, the Bengals have yet to capture a Super Bowl. Cincinnati has appeared in three championship games. The 49ers handed Cincy two of its three Super Bowls losses. San Francisco won 26-21 in 1982 and 20-16 in 1989. Last year was the latest loss, as the Rams won 23-20.
Who’s the best quarterback in Bengals’ franchise history?
Few good quarterbacks have played in Cincinnati. Ken Anderson is the best QB in franchise history. He played from 1971-86 and was one of the best QBs of his era. Anderson finished with over 32,000 career passing yards and 197 passing touchdowns. The Bengals legend led the NFL in passer rating four times, which is more than some Hall of Fame quarterbacks like Warren Moon. Anderson has a solid case to make the Hall of Fame, but no Super Bowl wins hurts his case.
Is Ja’Marr Chase a top 5 wide receiver?
After his rookie season, Ja’Marr Chase has entered the top 5 WR conversation. The former LSU Tiger set the record for most receiving yards in a rookie season at 1,455 yards. Chase made second team All-Pro after torching some of the NFL’s best corners. Going forward, Chase has a great shot of becoming a unanimous top 5 wideout.
Can the Bengals make the Super Bowl again?
Appearing in back-to-back Super Bowls is extremely difficult. The NFL is full of parity with power constantly shifting. Tom Brady has been the only exception in recent history. The Bengals’ roster improved this offseason. On paper, Cincinnati has the tools to win a Super Bowl, but getting there is easier said than done.