Cincinnati Bengals History | 1986 -



The '86 team was the second Bengals club, and the last one through 2017, to win 10 or more games and not make the playoffs. They lost their chance for a division title when they were bombed 34-3 by eventual champ Cleveland in Game 15 at Riverfront Stadium, but they stayed alive for a Wild Card berth to the very end. After swamping the N.Y. Jets 52-21 on the season's final Sunday, they were set to qualify with a Miami win over visiting New England on Monday night. But as many Bengals players gathered to watch at a popular Cincinnati night spot, the Patriots won 34-27, taking the AFC East title by a game over the Jets and eliminating Cincinnati from postseason. The 10-6 Jets and 10-6 Chiefs took the Wild Card spots over the Bengals via tiebreaker, with better records against AFC foes. In his first full season as Bengals starting QB, Boomer Esiason passed for a then-club-record 3959 yards, and RB James Brooks posted a club record that still stands through 2017 for yards from scrimmage (1773, on 1087 rushing and 686 receiving). LB Reggie Williams won the prestigious NFL Man of the Year award, for his combined football and community efforts. In late July, the NFL completed successful defense of a multi-million-dollar antitrust suit filed by the United States Football League. The courts ruled technically in favor of the USFL, but awarded only a token $1 in damages. "(The suit) could have been catastrophic to the NFL," Bengals assistant GM Mike Brown told reporters. "We are glad to see it end in what we consider a complete victory." In '86, the NFL began the regular use of instant replay officiating and stepped up its drug-testing program, two measures that were supported by the Bengals. After a year of instant replay, however, the Bengals would join a minority of teams that unsuccessfully opposed its continuation.

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League Rankings

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OFFENSE1 (405.6)2 (158.3)3 (247.3)
DEFENSE20 (329.6)22 (132.6)10 (197.0)

Year Totals

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Individual Leaders

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Jim BreechScoring
Boomer EsiasonPassing
James BrooksRushing
Cris CollinsworthReceptions
Cris CollinsworthReceiving Yards
Jeff HayesPunting
Ray HortonPunt Returns
Tim McGeeKickoff Returns
Jim BreechField Goals
Louis BreedenInterceptions
Emmanuel KingSacks
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Coaching Staff

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Sam WycheHead Coach
Jim AndersonRunning Backs
Bruce CosletOffensive Coordinator
Bill JohnsonTight Ends
Dick LeBeauDefensive Coordinator
Jim McNallyOffensive Line
Dick SelcerLinebackers
Bill UrbanikDefensive Line
Kim WoodStrength

1986 NFL Draft: April 29 - 30

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1aJoe KellyLBWashington11
1bTim McGee (acquired from Denver in trade on 10-9-84)WRTennessee21
2Lewis BillupsCBNorth Alabama38
3aJim Skow (acquired from Atlanta in trade on 4-2-86)DENebraska58
3bMike HammersteinDEMichigan65
4aEric KattusTEMichigan91
4bDoug Gaynor (acquired from Seattle in trade on 10-15-85)QBCal State-Long Beach99
5Leon WhiteLBBrigham Young123
6Gary HuntCBMemphis State152
7Pat FranklinRBSouthwest Texas State177
8David DouglasTTennessee204
9Cary WhittinghamLBBrigham Young230
10Jeff ShawNTSalem College262
11aTim StoneTKansas State289
11bTom Flaherty (acquired from Green Bay in trade on 9-4-85)LBNorthwestern294
12Steve BradleyQBIndiana316

Pro Bowl

Players selected for the 1986 NFL Pro Bowl: RB James Brooks, QB Boomer Esiason, G Max Montoya, OT Anthony Munoz