Record: 4-11-1 (3rd in AFC North); 3-4-1 at home, 1-7 on road
Head Coach: Marvin Lewis
|September 7||at Baltimore||L||10-17||70,978||M&T Bank|
|September 14||Tennessee||L||7-24||64,540||Paul Brown|
|September 21||at N.Y. Giants||L||23-26 (OT)||79,276||Giants|
|September 28||Cleveland||L||12-20||65,541||Paul Brown|
|October 5||at Dallas||L||22-31||62,655||Texas|
|October 12||at N.Y. Jets||L||14-26||78,161||The Meadowlands|
|October 19||Pittsburgh||L||10-38||65,860||Paul Brown|
|October 26||at Houston||L||6-35||70,112||Reliant|
|November 2||Jacksonville||W||21-19||64,238||Paul Brown|
|November 16||Philadelphia||T||13-13||64,633||Paul Brown|
|November 20||at Pittsburgh||L||10-27||59,854||Heinz Field|
|November 30||Baltimore||L||3-34||63,871||Paul Brown|
|December 7||at Indianapolis||L||3-35||66,402||Lucas Oil|
|December 14||Washington||W||20-13||63,996||Paul Brown|
|December 21||at Cleveland||W||14-0||72,361||Cleveland Browns|
|December 28||Kansas City||W||16-6||63,984||Paul Brown|
Winless in the first half of the 2008 season, the Bengals pulled together to finish 4-3-1 in the second half. In full, the Bengals season was a major disappointment. Plenty of performances did not meet expectations, and many performers were not on stage. Pro Bowl QB Carson Palmer played only four games, due to an elbow injury, and a club-record 23 players went on the Reserve/Injured list.
Defensively, a rebuilding unit struggled early but steadily improved under new coordinator Mike Zimmer, winding up with a No. 12 league ranking in net yards, allowing 325.5 yards per game. The ranking and the yardage average were both the franchise's best since 2001, when the defense ranked ninth with a 302.0-yard yield. The Bengals also tied a franchise record over the last three games of 2008, going nine consecutive quarters without allowing a touchdown.
Leading rusher Cedric Benson didn't join the Bengals until Game 5 at Dallas, signing as a free agent after being out of the NFL since being released by the Chicago Bears. He was a most fortunate pickup, leading the team for the season with a career-high 747 rushing yards, including two straight 100-yard performances to close the season.
Wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh led the Bengals for a third consecutive year in receptions, snagging 92, and his reception total of 294 from 2006-08 is the most in club history for three consecutive years. He also led the league in third-down catches (31). Fellow receiver Chad Ochocinco (who changed his legal name from Chad Johnson prior to the season) ended the 2008 season with 53 receiving touchdowns, tying Isaac Curtis for second place all-time on the Bengals.
2008: A CLOSER LOOK