Cincinnati Bengals History | 1972 -



The team rallied from the disappointment of 1971 to finish 8-6 for the second time in three seasons. It wasn't enough for a second playoff berth in three years, but Coach Paul Brown said at season's end that the Bengals had met his goal of becoming a "fully competitive" NFL franchise by Year Five. (The Bengals would back up those words by going 38-18 over the next four seasons.) Besides the drama of a playoff bid that ended with a loss to Cleveland in Game 13, the season's major storyline was the battle between veteran Virgil Carter and second-year Ken Anderson for the No. 1 QB spot. Anderson got Brown's nod in preseason, but Carter took the job back for Game 9 vs. Oakland, after Anderson had struggled in a 40-17 loss to Pittsburgh. Carter was injured in the Oakland game, however, and Anderson started Game 10, a 20-19 upset loss to a Baltimore team that had won only twice. Carter started in a Game 11 win at Chicago, but passed for only 120 yards with two INTs, and Anderson was reinstalled at No. 1 for a Game 12 win vs. the Giants. Anderson started the crucial Game 13 vs. Cleveland, but he was sidelined with an injury, and the Browns sealed a 27-24 win when Carter suffered an INT by LB Billy Andrews on a short pass to Cleveland's goal line with 0:36 to play. Anderson came back to start the play-for-pride season finale, directing a 61-17 romp at Houston, and Anderson would not again be seriously challenged until 1984, when at age 35 he was bothered by injuries and began to give way to Boomer Esiason. DT Mike Reid, Cincinnati's top pick from the 1970 draft, was the only Bengal named to the Pro Football Writers' first-team All-Pro squad, but rookie S Tommy Casanova also made a big impression and was voted by his teammates as the club's MVP. The 61 points scored at Houston stands through 2017 as a club record. It has been matched once since, in a 61-7 win vs. the same Houston franchise in 1989.

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League Rankings

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OFFENSE9 (308.4)14 (142.6)9 (165.8)
DEFENSE3 (253.7)12 (129.6)4 (124.1)

Year Totals

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Individual Leaders

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Horst MuhlmannScoring
Ken AndersonPassing
Essex JohnsonRushing
Chip MyersReceptions
Chip MyersReceiving Yards
Dave LewisPunting
Tommy CasanovaPunt Return
Bernard JacksonKickoff Returns
Horst MuhlmannField Goals
Tommy CasanovaInterceptions

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

1972 NFL DRAFT: FEB 1 - 2

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1Sherman WhiteDECalifornia2
2Tommy CasanovaDBLouisiana State29
3Jim LeClairLBNorth Dakota54
4Bernard JacksonDBWashington State81
5Tom DeLeoneCOhio State106
6(sent to Chicago in trade on 9-2-70)133
7Steve ConleyLB/RBKansas158
8Dan KratzerWRMissouri Valley185
9Stan WaltersTSyracuse210
10Brian FosterCBColorado237
11Kent PedersonTECalifornia, Santa Barbara*261
12Rick WegisSCal Poly-SLO289
13James HamiltonP/QBArkansas State314
14Steve PorterWRIndiana341
15Hosea MinnieweatherDTJackson State366
16John WiegmannWRCal Poly-Pomona393
17Dave GreenP/KOhio418

*NOTE: Buffalo had the No. 261 overall choice in Round 11 but passed, allowing the Bengals to move from No. 262 to 261.

Pro Bowl

Players selected for the 1972 NFL Pro Bowl: WR Chip Myers, DT Mike Reid