The 7-9 Bengals scored 441 points in Sam Wyche's second season as head coach, a club record at the time. But their 437 points allowed also was a record to that point. Rookie WR Eddie Brown, who had surprisingly been available with the No. 13 pick in the '85 draft, missed the first 18 days of training camp due to contract talks, but he wound up as Associated Press NFL Rookie of the Year after catching 53 passes for 942 yards and eight TDs. Bengals icon Ken Anderson opened the season as the starting QB, but the 15th-year vet was supplanted in Game 3 by second-year pro Boomer Esiason, who went on to pass for 27 TDs and just 12 INTs while posting a 93.2 passer rating. The team rebounded from an 0-3 start to stand 7-7 after a rousing 50-24 win over Dallas, and a playoff berth was clearly within range in an AFC Central Division race in which no team was able to dominate. But in Game 15, the Bengals lost 27-24 at Washington after leading 24-7, and their only hope for the playoffs entering the final weekend was via tiebreaker in a possible three-way deadlock with Pittsburgh and Cleveland. The day before their season finale at New England, they were eliminated — and Cleveland became division champion — when Pittsburgh lost a Saturday game to the N.Y. Giants. Prior to and during the season, the team had a number of high-profile personnel issues. Star WR Cris Collinsworth, who had stunned Cincinnati fans in 1983 by signing a "future contract" with the United States Football League's Tampa Bay Bandits, was to join the Bandits for their 1985 spring season. But after a soap-opera series of "will he go or will he stay?" events, Collinsworth re-signed with Cincinnati on Feb. 27. WR Isaac Curtis, a premier Bengal for 12 years, was released in July and shortly thereafter announced his retirement from pro football. DE Ross Browner went to Houston of the USFL in the spring, but he re-signed with Cincinnati in late August. TE Dan Ross, another ex-Bengal who had gone to the USFL, was re-acquired by Cincinnati in late August but was traded to Seattle in October.