CINCINNATI (AP) - The Bengals packed and left town on Monday
thinking they'd taken a big first step toward becoming a perennial
They've been in this spot before, and it hasn't turned out that
The Bengals (9-8) had only their third winning record and
playoff appearance in the last 21 years, getting the final wild
card. They lost in Houston 31-10 on Saturday, another game that
showed they're not ready to keep up with the NFL's elite. The
Bengals played eight games against other teams that reached the
playoffs this season and lost all eight.
The challenge now is to make the playoffs for a second year in a
row, something the Bengals have done only once in their history, in
1981-82. That's also their last back-to-back winning records.