Cincinnati Bengals Flashback: 3 memorable moments vs. Jaguars
By Eric Bruns
When the Jaguars came into the NFL in 1995, they were put into the AFC Central division, so twice a season they played the Steelers, Browns, Oilers, & Cincinnati Bengals.
In ’96, the Ravens were also added to the division.
In 2002 after the Texans were added, the NFL expanded to eight total divisions and the Jaguars went to the AFC South but for seven seasons the Bengals and Jaguars were division rivals. Now they only play when they both finish last in their divisions or when the conferences play each other.
Both of these franchises have been struggling in recent years as the Bengals held the top pick in last year’s draft and the Jaguars held the top pick in this year’s draft. This gave each team their hopeful franchise quarterback.
Let’s take a look at the most memorable moments between these two teams.
Bengals Sweep Jaguars in Jags’ Inaugural Season (1995)
It’s tough for any team to come into a league and find success in their first season (the Vegas Golden Knights being the exception, of course). The Jags showed that struggle and Mark Brunell got the start over drafted rookie Steve Beuerlein.
Tom Coughlin had a tough time but, he eventually found his footing and made the Jags one of the best teams in the late ’90s and early 2000s. The following season he took them to the AFC Championship.
Before those great years, they had a rough first season going 4-12 with two losses coming against the Bengals. In 1995, we were in the midst of the Bungles years and Cincy went 7-9, missed the playoffs, and rookie Ki-Jana Carter went down in the preseason with an injury.
Not much was going right for the Bengals either in 1995 but at least they managed to beat the lowly Jaguars twice this season. Both games don’t really have any outstanding moments. The Bengals won in Week 2 with a score of 24-17 and again in Week 13 with a score of 17-13. In Week 2, Jeff Blake had a 68-yard touchdown pass to Carl Pickens. That’s pretty great…right?
Bengals Dominate Post Division Re-alignment (2002-Present)
Dominate is a loose term here, however, the Bengals have the winning record against Jacksonville from 2002 to now with a 5-4 advantage. In the post-Coughlin era, the Jags have really struggled to find success. Coughlin left in 2002 and since then they have only had six seasons with a .500 record or better.
Coughlin and Brunell owned the Bengals in the ’90s and early 2000s with a 9-4 record. They truly capitalized on the Bungles years. However, in 2003, all changed when the Bengals hired Marvin Lewis and when the team drafted Carson Palmer with the first overall pick.
Lewis and Palmer helped shed the moniker of the Bungles, going from a laughing stock to a team that the NFL took seriously. During the same time, the Jags faired far worse as noted above.
During these nine meetings, the Bengals won four of their five in a row. From 2008-2014, the Bengals owned the Jags but Jacksonville won the next two in 2017 and 2019 during some down Bengals seasons. Cincinnati won the last meeting, which is my next great moment.
Burrow Gets His First Win as a Rookie (Oct. 4, 2020)
In 2020, the Bengals drafted who they thought will be their franchise quarterback for the next decade-plus when they spent the number one pick on Joe Burrow out of LSU. They hoped Burrow would get the Bengals back to AFC North Division title contenders and possibly that elusive playoff victory.
Unfortunately, his rookie season was cut short due to an ACL and MCL tear. Before this, he was looking great, possibly on his way to Rookie of the Year. The Bengals began the 2020 season 0-2-1 with a tie coming against Philadelphia. The Jaguars were not doing much better at 1-2 (this was actually their last win).
Burrow had a solid game against Jacksonville, throwing 300 yards on 25 completions with a touchdown and interception on the day. Though it was Burrow’s first win as a rookie, it really was the Joe Mixon show that Sunday. Mixon ran all over the Jags, totaling 151 yards on 25 carries. He ran for two touchdowns and had the lone receiving touchdown on the day.
In Week 10 was when Burrow went down with the injury. Even with this being his first career win in the NFL, his biggest moment came two weeks prior to his injury when the Bengals inexplicably beat the Titans. In fact, the Bengals almost owned the AFC South only losing to Indianapolis, a game in which they almost won.
What do you think? Did I miss a specific moment?