Cincinnati Bengals History | 1971 -



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

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OFFENSE6 (304.7)6 (153.0)T-14 (151.7)
DEFENSE12 (279.0)13 (127.0)13 (152.0)

Year Totals

Table inside Article

Individual Leaders

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Horst MuhlmannScoring
Virgil CarterPassing
Fred WillisRushing
Bob TrumpyReceptions
Bob TrumpyReceiving Yards
Dave LewisPunting
Lemar ParrishPunt Return
Paul RobinsonKickoff Returns
Horst MuhlmannField Goals
Lemar ParrishInterceptions
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Coaching Staff

Table inside Article
Paul BrownHead Coach
Vince CostelloLinebackers
Jack DonaldsonOffensive Backfield
Bill JohnsonOffensive Line
Chuck StudleyDefensive Line
Bill WalshReceivers/Quarterbacks
Chuck WeberDefensive Coordinator/Defensive Backfield

1971 NFL DRAFT: JAN 28 - 29

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1Vernon HollandTTennessee State15
2Steve LawsonGKansas41
3Ken AndersonQBAugustana (Ill.)67
4Fred WillisRBBoston College93
5Arthur May (acquired from N.Y. Jets in trade on 10-26-70)110
5(sent to San Diego in trade on 8-4-70119
6(sent to Buffalo in trade on 8-26-70)145
7Neal CraigSFisk171
8Fred HerringCBTennessee State197
9Gary GustafsonLBMontana State223
10Jack StambaughGOregon249
11Ed MarshallWRCameron275
12J. Rod HaydenDEMemphis State223
13David KnapmanTECentral Washington327
14Irvin MalloryDBVirginia Union353
15Bob ThomasRBArizona State379
16Mark DebevcLBOhio State405
17Sam PearsonCBWestern 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