Wildest Wild Card games in Cincinnati Bengals history

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Bengals will make their 10th appearance on Wild Card weekend this Saturday and will do so against the Las Vegas Raiders. This is the best chance they have had in a long time to win their first playoff game since Jan. 6, 1991.

Yeah, Wild Card weekend has not been favorable to the Bengals. They’re 1-8 all-time and 5-14 overall in the postseason.

Joe Burrow is the guy that can end this horrible postseason slump but being a Bengals fan, I am being cautiously optimistic. To deal with my conflicted feelings of being a Bengals fan, I decided to look at some of the Bengals’ wildest wild card weekend games, the good and the bad.

Jan. 6, 1991 – Bengals destroy Oilers in only Wild Card victory

The Bengals and Oilers met twice in the 1990 season since they were in the same division. In the first meeting, the Oilers blew out the Bengals 48-17 and in week 16, the Bengals got their revenge and won 40-20, knocking out the Oilers’ chances at the division title.

During this game, Warren Moon injured his thumb and required surgery. He missed the rest of the season including this playoff game. Cody Carlson got the nod in week 17 and in the wild card weekend game.

The Bengals, Oilers, and Steelers all tied at 9-7 to end the season but the stripes were awarded the division title due to a better Division Record. With Carlson, they beat the Steelers in week 17 to earn a wildcard spot and end the Steelers season.

Unfortunately for Carlson, his luck ran out in the first round of the playoffs at Paul Brown Stadium. The game was essentially over at halftime. Cody didn’t have a terrible game either.

Cody threw for 165 and two touchdowns with 1 interception. However, those two touchdowns came late in the third quarter and fourth quarter, after the game was already out of reach. The Bengals led 20-0 at the half and never looked back.

The good guys piled on another 21 points in the second half while the Oilers added the two passing touchdowns by Cody. The end result was a slaughter by the Bengals of 41-14. It’s interesting to wonder what would’ve happened had Warren Moon been able to play.

This was the season he torched the Chiefs for 527 passing yards. He also lit up the Bengals earlier in the season as I stated before. There is a chance if Warren played that it would be a 33-year drought.

Instead, Jan. 6 became a day of joy for Bengals fans, before it became synonymous with an insurrection…Maybe Jan. 15 will be another day of joy for Bengals fans.

Can Burrow turn around the Bengals’ poor post-season history?

After this wondrous victory, the Bengals never won another wild card game. Seven straight losses in ’05, ’09, ’11, ’12,’13, ’14, and ’15. None of the games have been crazy or spectacular. Cincy just seems to not show up.

In the second showing against the Texans, they had a good chance to win, but they came out slow and never got going. If it wasn’t for a pick-six by Leon Hall, the stripes would not have scored a touchdown. Instead, they lost 19-13.

Jan. 7, 2012 – Bengals lost the battle of the rookies.

The first showing against the Texans I really thought the Bengals were going to win, as did probably most other people. Matt Schaub was injured during the regular season so it was a match-up of the rookie quarterbacks, as it was Andy Dalton vs. T.J. Yates.

The good guys were in it for the first half until J. J. Watt (also a rookie) had a pick-six to make it 17-10 at the half. After this, it was all Texans as they scored two more touchdowns to end the game 31-10. Despite Dalton’s 257 yards, his three interceptions proved to be too much for the Cincinnati offense to overcome.

This was the first of five consecutive wild card losses. The fifth and final loss is one that still probably hurts Bengals fans because it still boils my blood. Every sports fan has those moments they are still mad about.

I loved Tim Brown and Warren Moon growing up. The Tuck Rule game of Raiders and Patriots still infuriates me as does the 2015 Wild Card game between the Bengals and Steelers.

Jan. 9, 2016 – Bengals can’t get out of their own way

2015 seemed to be the Cincinnati Bengals’ year. They were stout on both sides of the ball. However, in week 14 they lost Andy Dalton to an injury forcing A. J. McCarron to start the rest of the season. The Steelers won the week 14 match-up, but McCarron was 2-1 to finish the season and helped Cincy finish first in the North.

The Bengals were third-best in the AFC and had to play on wild card weekend and they drew the dreaded Steelers.

Cincinnati got down 15-0 by the end of the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, McCarron started to rouse a comeback. First, Jeremy Hill scored a touchdown and then the stripes got a field goal. With 1:56 left in the game, McCarron threw a 25-yard pass to A. J. Green, who broke a tackle and got into the endzone to take the lead.

Cincy decided to go for two to make it 18-16, but it was a disastrous attempt. It was a 16-15 lead with 1:50 to go.

On the Steelers’ ensuing drive, with 1:43 to go, Vontaze Burfict intercepted Ben Roethlisberger.

This was the point of the game when I was running around my friends’ house screaming. I truly thought they had this game won. Silly me, now I don’t allow myself joy until there are zeros on the clock.

On the Bengals’ drive, deep in Steelers’ territory, Hill fumbled the ball, and the Steelers recovered. On this final drive, the Steelers converted a 4th-and-3 with 28 seconds to go. With 22 seconds on the clock and the Steelers in Bengals territory, Burfict committed a personal foul.

A senseless hit to the helmet on Antonio Brown put the Steelers into field goal range. Adam “Pac Man” Jones then was penalized for a personal foul giving the Steelers a chip shot field goal. The Steelers won 18-16, and the Bengals haven’t been back to the playoffs since.

I’d like to point out that those should’ve been offsetting penalties because the Steelers outside linebackers coach Joey Porter should not have been on the field interacting with Bengals players, so they should’ve offset and replayed the down.

Alas, it wasn’t and I was left to drown my sorrow in pancakes from IHOP after the game.

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What do you think? Did I miss any crazy games? Can Burrow finally win a playoff game for Cincinnati?