The greatest Cincinnati Bengals seasons of all-time

Super Bowl LVI - Los Angeles Rams v Cincinnati Bengals
Super Bowl LVI - Los Angeles Rams v Cincinnati Bengals / Michael Owens/GettyImages
2 of 4

6. 2015 (12-4, 1st in the AFC North)

An Andy Dalton season for sure had to be on this list. It came down between the 2015 season and the 2013 season. In 2013, Cincy also finished first in the North but only went 11-5. Both years felt like they were the team that could actually do something in the playoffs.

Ultimately 2015 outranks 2013 because Andy Dalton went down with a broken thumb in Week 14 against the Steelers. Alabama standout A.J. McCarron had to start the rest of the season and he went 2-2 including the loss to the Steelers in Week 14.

He also started the infamous Wild Card game against the Steelers in which the black and orange stripes committed back-to-back personal fouls to put the Steelers in field goal range to win the game.

It was a heartbreaking loss in a season and a team that had the chops to take it all. Everyone in Cincinnati felt like our boys could beat anyone. McCarron played decent in his five starts under center.

The team’s ability to rally around the backup quarterback and still believe they could beat anyone is why this season ranks above their 2013 season. That and this season also included the best start in franchise history.

The Bengals started 2015 with an 8-0 record and got to that mark with a comeback win over the Browns. The good guys thrashed their Ohio rival 31-10 to advance to 8-0 for the first time in franchise history. Prior to this, their best start was 6-0 in the 1975 and 1988 seasons.

5. 2005 (11-5, 1st in the AFC North)

Carson Palmer's second year in the league proved he definitely had the chops to be a starting quarterback in this league. He threw for over 3,800 yards and 32 touchdowns on his way to Hawaii in the Pro Bowl.

On the receiving end of nearly half of those passing yards was Chad Johnson. Statistically, Johnson had the best season of his career in 2005. He had 1,432 yards and nine touchdowns while also going to Hawaii with Palmer for the Pro Bowl.

The Bengals' offense was a fearsome bunch this year. They ranked top 10 in nearly every category. Their defense was another story though they did rank first in turnovers. It’s easy to see why fans thought this was the kind of team that could make a deep run in the playoffs.

Unfortunately, everything came apart in the wildcard game versus the Steelers. Early in the first quarter Palmer got hit and tore his ACL, meaning that Jon Kitna had to finish the game for the Bengals. Though he put up a valiant effort, the Steelers were too much and the Bengals lost 31-17.

It might seem pointless to consider a season great based on what could’ve happened, but the numbers didn’t lie. This was one of the best teams in the NFL in 2005. Even with an okay defense, this offense could’ve carried them far.

Plenty of high-flying offenses have gone to the big game. It’s just usually they don’t win the big game. Regardless what this team did in 2005 was give their fans hope, which is something they hadn’t felt since the early 90s. Which is why it is on this list.