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.