Record: 10-6-0 (2nd in AFC North); 4-4 at home, 6-2 on road
Head Coach: Marvin Lewis
|September 10||at Baltimore||L||13-44||71,064||M&T Bank|
|September 16||Cleveland||W||34-27||63,036||Paul Brown|
|September 23||at Washington||W||38-31||80,060||FedExField|
|September 30||at Jacksonville||W||27-10||63,030||EverBank Field|
|October 7||Miami||L||13-17||61,162||Paul Brown|
|October 14||at Cleveland||L||24-34||67,060||Cleveland Browns|
|October 21||Pittsburgh||L||17-24||63,411||Paul Brown|
|November 4||Denver||L||23-31||63,623||Paul Brown|
|November 11||N.Y. Giants||W||31-13||56,614||Paul Brown|
|November 18||at Kansas City||W||28-6||63,336||Arrowhead|
|November 25||Oakland||W||34-10||56,503||Paul Brown|
|December 2||at San Diego||W||20-13||54,980||Qualcomm|
|December 9||Dallas||L||19-20||63,590||Paul Brown|
|December 13||at Philadelphia||W||34-13||69,144||Lincoln Financial Field|
|December 23||at Pittsburgh||W||13-10||63,236||Heinz Field|
|December 30||Baltimore||W||23-17||61,565||Paul Brown|
|January 5||at Houston||L||13-19||71,738||Reliant|
Looking to build on a successful 2011 season that included a trip to the playoffs, the Bengals started fast in 2012, winning three of their first four games. A four-game losing streak followed, but Cincinnati then reeled off wins in seven of its final eight games, tying the 1981 Super Bowl Bengals for the best second-half record in a 16-game season, to secure a Wild Card playoff berth.
Despite the season-ending momentum and facing a Houston team that struggled down the stretch, the Bengals suffered a 19-13 loss to the Texans in the AFC Wild Card playoff.
The second-half surge was fueled by the defense, which rose from 20th to sixth in the NFL in fewest yards allowed per game over the final eight games. The Bengals also finished third in the NFL in sacks with a club-record 51, just one behind co-leaders Denver and St. Louis.
Individually, the Bengals were led on defense by defensive tackle Geno Atkins, who established a team season record for sacks by an interior lineman with 12.5, shattering the previous mark of 8.0 held by Dan Wilkinson (1995). Defensive end Michael Johnson fell just a sack behind Atkins with a career-high 11.5, nearly doubling his previous high of 6.0. College free agent Vontaze Burfict, undrafted after being ballyhooed at times as a potential first-round talent, led the team with 174 tackles, including a team season-high 23 in the season finale vs. Baltimore.
On the offensive side, the Bengals were once again led by second-year standouts, quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver A.J. Green. With 27 touchdown passes in 2012, Dalton joined Hall of Famer Dan Marino and future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning as the only players in NFL history to hit 20 or more TD passes in each of their first two seasons. With 11 TDs on the season, all on receptions, Green finished tied for second in the AFC in receiving scores and fourth in the AFC with 97 receptions. Green also set a franchise record within a single season with at least one touchdown reception in nine straight games (Games 2-10), surpassing the mark of eight by T.J. Houshmandzadeh in 2007.
The Bengals special teams also had an impressive season led by punter Kevin Huber, who set club season records with a 46.6-yard gross punting average and 42.0 net average. Huber also had 33 punts inside the 20, fourth-best in the NFL.
The Bengals captured seven weekly or monthly AFC awards bestowed by the NFL, the most in franchise history. The 1988 and 1989 teams had six.
2012: A CLOSER LOOK