Record: 11-5-0 (1st in AFC North); 5-3 at home, 6-2 on road
Head Coach: Marvin Lewis
|September 11||at Cleveland||W||27-13||73,013||Cleveland Browns|
|September 18||Minnesota||W||37-8||65,763||Paul Brown|
|September 25||at Chicago||W||24-7||62,045||Soldier Field|
|October 2||Houston||W||16-10||65,714||Paul Brown|
|October 9||at Jacksonville||L||20-23||66,137||ALLTEL|
|October 16||at Tennessee||W||31-23||69,149||The Coliseum|
|October 23||Pittsburgh||L||13-27||66,104||Paul Brown|
|October 30||Green Bay||W||21-14||65,940||Paul Brown|
|November 6||at Baltimore||W||21-9||70,196||M & T Bank|
|November 20||Indianapolis||L||37-45||65,995||Paul Brown|
|November 27||Baltimore||W||42-29||65,680||Paul Brown|
|December 4||at Pittsburgh||W||38-31||63,044||Heinz Field|
|December 11||Cleveland||W||23-20||65,788||Paul Brown|
|December 18||at Detroit||W||41-17||61,749||Ford Field|
|December 24||Buffalo||L||27-37||65,485||Paul Brown|
|January 1||at Kansas City||L||3-37||77,211||Arrowhead|
|January 8||Pittsburgh||L||17-31||65,870||Paul Brown|
The Bengals returned to the postseason for the first since 1990 after finishing with an 11-5 record and winning the AFC North. The rival Pittsbugh Steelers also finished the season with an identical 11-5 mark but Cincinnati was awarded the division crown based on its better record against divisional opponents. The Bengals hosted the Steelers in the opening round of the playoffs and bad fortune struck early. On just Cincinnati's second offensive play, quarterback Carson Palmer suffered a season-ending knee injury. Although backup QB Jon Kitna would engineer the Bengals to leads of 10-0 and 17-7, the loss of Palmer proved too costly as Pittsburgh ran off 24 straight points to come away with a 31-17 victory.
The regular season was punctuated with several individual and team achievements. The Bengals set franchise records for fewest fumbles in a season (6), fewest sacks allowed (21), and turnover differential (+24), while tying club marks for takeaways (44), fewest giveaways (20), and road wins in a season (6). Cincinnati also posted 31 interceptions, the second-highest total in team history.
Individually, five Bengals earned Pro Bowl berths including T Willie Anderson, K Shayne Graham, WR Chad Johnson, QB Carson Palmer, and CB Deltha O'Neal. Johnson claimed his third straight AFC receiving yards title and broke his own team record with 1432 receiving yards, and Palmer established a franchise mark with 32 TD passes while posting the first 100+ passer rating in Bengals history (101.1). O'Neal set a team record with a career-high 10 interceptions, breaking the mark previously held by Ken Riley (9). Rudi Johnson rushed for 1458 yards, breaking the single-season rushing mark he set the previous season (1454). First-year linebacker Odell Thurman tied the club record for INTs in a season by a rookie (Tommy Casanova, 5, 1972).
2005: A CLOSER LOOK