Cincinnati Bengals History | 1971 - Bengals.com

1971

Summary

The Bengals went 5-0-1 in preseason and opened the regular season with high hopes of defending their AFC Central Division title. They started off with a 37-14 rout of Philadelphia at home, but they lost the next seven and finished at 4-10. The puzzling outfit stumbled despite out-gaining foes by more than 25 yards per game and posting a plus-16 turnover differential. Six of their losses came by four points or less. QB Sam Wyche, who would become Bengals head coach in 1984, was traded in May to Washington, and Virgil Carter was the starting QB for most of the season. But Carter missed some time with injuries, allowing for the debut of third-round draft pick Ken Anderson, who immediately attracted notice as a prospect of great promise. Anderson could not turn the '71 season around, but it was the start of a 16-year career (longest in Bengals history through 2017) that would end with him holding all the team's major passing records at that time. The first of Anderson's career 197 Bengals TD passes was a five-yarder to WR Eric Crabtree in the fourth quarter of a 20-17 loss on Oct. 3 at Green Bay. On Nov. 28, the Bengals posted the first shutout in franchise history, 31-0 at home over San Diego. Regular-season home attendance was strong in Riverfront Stadium's second year, as the average of 59,266 would not be topped until the 2003 season at Paul Brown Stadium. Cincinnati's Dave Lewis won his second consecutive NFL punting title, averaging 44.8 yards.

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League Rankings

Table inside Article
TOTAL RUSH PASS
OFFENSE 6 (304.7) 6 (153.0) T-14 (151.7)
DEFENSE 12 (279.0) 13 (127.0) 13 (152.0)

Year Totals

Table inside Article
PLAYS FIRST DOWNS NET YDS RUSH NET YDS PASS TOTAL NET YDS PTS
OFFENSE 867 236 2142 2124 4266 284
DEFENSE 811 213 1778 2128 3906 265

Individual Leaders

Table inside Article
PLAYER CATEGORY
Horst Muhlmann Scoring
Virgil Carter Passing
Fred Willis Rushing
Bob Trumpy Receptions
Bob Trumpy Receiving Yards
Dave Lewis Punting
Lemar Parrish Punt Return
Paul Robinson Kickoff Returns
Horst Muhlmann Field Goals
Lemar Parrish Interceptions
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Coaching Staff

Table inside Article
COACH POSITION
Paul Brown Head Coach
Vince Costello Linebackers
Jack Donaldson Offensive Backfield
Bill Johnson Offensive Line
Chuck Studley Defensive Line
Bill Walsh Receivers/Quarterbacks
Chuck Weber Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backfield

1971 NFL DRAFT: JAN 28 - 29

Table inside Article
ROUND PLAYER POSITION COLLEGE SELECTION NUMBER
1 Vernon Holland T Tennessee State 15
2 Steve Lawson G Kansas 41
3 Ken Anderson QB Augustana (Ill.) 67
4 Fred Willis RB Boston College 93
5 Arthur May (acquired from N.Y. Jets in trade on 10-26-70) 110
5 (sent to San Diego in trade on 8-4-70 119
6 (sent to Buffalo in trade on 8-26-70) 145
7 Neal Craig S Fisk 171
8 Fred Herring CB Tennessee State 197
9 Gary Gustafson LB Montana State 223
10 Jack Stambaugh G Oregon 249
11 Ed Marshall WR Cameron 275
12 J. Rod Hayden DE Memphis State 223
13 David Knapman TE Central Washington 327
14 Irvin Mallory DB Virginia Union 353
15 Bob Thomas RB Arizona State 379
16 Mark Debevc LB Ohio State 405
17 Sam Pearson CB Western Kentucky *432

*NOTE: The Bengals had the No. 431 overall choice in Round 17 but passed, allowing Kansas City to move from No. 432 to 431.

Pro Bowl

Player selected for the 1971 NFL Pro Bowl: CB Lemar Parrish

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