Cincinnati Bengals History | 1978 -



The Bengals and the NFL played the first year with a 16-game schedule, and it was a long 16 for Cincinnati. QB Ken Anderson missed the first four games with a broken bone in his right hand, and Bill Johnson resigned as head coach following an 0-5 start. Among the first four games, Cincinnati's losing margins included one point (vs. Kansas City), three points (in overtime at Cleveland) and two points (vs. New Orleans). Johnson was replaced as head coach by Homer Rice, who had joined the staff for '78 as quarterbacks coach. The team dropped to a 1-12 mark before rallying to win the last three games. The Bengals closed the year with a 48-16 rout of Cleveland, a 32-point winning margin that stood until 2015 as Cincinnati's largest in the Battle of Ohio series. Prior to the season, CB Lemar Parrish and DE Coy Bacon were traded to Washington for the Redskins' first-round draft pick in 1979 (used to select RB Charles Alexander). Two Pro Bowlers, TE Bob Trumpy and S Tommy Casanova, retired prior to the season. On July 26, Paul Brown's eldest son, Robin, died of cancer at age 46, and Paul Brown had to cancel plans to be the presenter for Weeb Ewbank at Ewbank's Pro Football Hall of Fame induction. The Ben-Gals cheerleaders were in the news in '78. They attracted considerable new attention, going away from their "malt shop" look to a more revealing uniform, described at the time as "chic, smart and sexy, but not vulgar."

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League Rankings

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OFFENSE11 (304.5)18 (133.2)10 (171.3)
DEFENSE10 (289.5)T-19 (149.8)3 (139.8)

Year Totals

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Individual Leaders

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Chris BahrScoring
Ken AndersonPassing
Pete JohnsonRushing
Isaac CurtisReceptions
Isaac CurtisReceiving Yards
Pat McInallyPunting
Tony DavisPunt Return
Ray GriffinKickoff Returns
Chris BahrField Goals
Dick JauronInterceptions
Ross BrownerSacks
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Coaching Staff

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Homer RiceHead Coach
Howard BrinkerDefensive Coordinator/Linebackers
Boyd DowlerReceivers
Frank GanszSpecial Teams
Mike McCormackOffensive Line
Dick ModzelewskiDefensive Line
George SefcikOffensive Backfield
Charley WinnerDefensive Backfield
Kim WoodStrength
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1978 NFL Draft: May 2-3

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1aRoss Browner (acquired from Philadelphia in trade on 7-10-74)DLNotre Dame8
1bBlair BushCWashington16
2aRay Griffin (acquired from Philadelphia in trade on 7-10-74)CBOhio State35
2bDeacon TurnerRBSan Diego State45
3aTed VincentDTWichita State72
3bDon Bass (acquired from Denver in trade on 3-16-77)WRHouston83
4Dennis LawWREast Tennessee State99
5aTom DinkelLBKansas126
5bRob Hertel (acquired from Chicago in trade on 5-11-76)QBSouthern California131
6Steve GeiseRBPenn State155
7aJoe BransonSLivingstone (N.C.)182
7bDanny Bass (acquired from Denver in trade on 3-16-77)TElon (N.C.)193
8Bill MillerTWestern Illinois211
9Ron ShumonLBWichita State238
10Tom DePasoLBPenn State267
11aCalvin Prince (acquired from St. Louis in trade on 8-30-77)RBLouisville293
11bMark DonahueGMichigan294
12Kim FeatsentWRKent State323