1973

Summary

The Bengals claimed their second AFC Central title in the division's four-year existence, winning their last six games after a 4-4 start and claiming the crown over 10-4 Pittsburgh via conference-record tiebreaker. The Bengals' rivalry with the Steelers heated up in '73, with Pittsburgh QB Terry Bradshaw saying, "I'd really rather beat Cincinnati than anybody." The Bengals and Steelers split their two season meetings. In postseason, the Bengals lost 34-16 at Miami, which would go on to win Super Bowl VIII. It marked the second time in two playoff appearances that the Bengals were eliminated by the team that would go on to win it all. Though the schedule at this time remained at just 14 games, the Bengals missed by just 15 total yards having two 1000-yard rushers. Veteran Essex Johnson had 997 yards, and bruising 12th-round draft choice Boobie Clark had 988. Clark was named AFC Rookie of the Year. Through 2017, only six teams in NFL history have had two 1000-yard rushers in a season (Bengals not among them), and four of those instances came in 16-game seasons. The '73 offense was further improved by WR Isaac Curtis, a first-round draft pick who would go on to play 12 excellent seasons for Cincinnati. The NFL's rules on home television blackouts were changed for 1973, with blackouts lifted on games.

Postseason Game Summary – AFC Divisional Playoff

As was the case in their first postseason appearance three years earlier, the Bengals lost in the opening playoff round to the team that would go on to win the Super Bowl. The Bengals had tied Pittsburgh at 10-4 atop the AFC Central Division and won the title by virtue of a better AFC record. Miami took the first step toward a Super Bowl VIII win over Minnesota by outgaining Cincinnati 400-194 in net yards and posting 27 first downs to Cincinnati's 11. Cincinnati trailed only 21-16 at halftime after being down 21-3 midway through the second quarter, but the Dolphins shut out Cincinnati in the second half while getting a seven-yard TD pass from QB Bob Griese to TE Jim Mandich and a pair of FGs from K Garo Yepremian. Miami RB Mercury Morris rushed for 106 yards on 20 carries and FB Larry Csonka had 71 yards on 20 carries. The Bengals did not score an offensive TD, getting their only TD on a 45-yard INT return by S Neal Craig. Horst Muhlmann kicked three FGs for Cincinnati.

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League Rankings

Table inside Article
TOTAL RUSH PASS
OFFENSE 5 (322.3) 7 (159.7) 8 (162.6)
DEFENSE 8 (264.6) 8 (129.1) 13 (135.6)

Year Totals

Table inside Article
PLAYS FIRST DOWNS NET YDS RUSH NET YDS PASS TOTAL NET YDS PTS
OFFENSE 871 252 2236 2276 4512 286
DEFENSE 840 219 1807 1898 3705 231

Individual Leaders

Table inside Article
PLAYER CATEGORY
Horst Muhlmann Scoring
Ken Anderson Passing
Essex Johnson Rushing
Isaac Curtis, Boobie Clark Receptions
Isaac Curtis Receiving Yards
Dave Lewis Punting
Lemar Parrish Punt Return
Bernard Jackson Kickoff Returns
Horst Muhlmann Field Goals
Tommy Casanova Interceptions

Coaching Staff

Table inside Article
Coach Position
Paul Brown Head Coach
Vince Costello Linebackers
Jack Donaldson Offensive Backfield
Bill Johnson Offensive Line
Chuck Studley Defensive Line
Bill Walsh Receivers/Quarterbacks
Chuck Weber Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backfield

1973 NFL Draft: Jan 30 - 31

Table inside Article
ROUND PLAYER POSITION COLLEGE SELECTION NUMBER
1 Isaac Curtis WR San Diego State 15
2 Al Chandler TE Oklahoma 43
3 Tim George WR Carson-Newman 68
4 (sent to Baltimore in trade on 2-1-72) 93
5 Bob McCall RB Arizona 121
6 Bob Jones CB Virginia Union 146
7 Bob Maddox DT/DE Frostburg State 171
8 Joe Wilson RB Holy Cross 199
9 John Dampeer G Notre Dame 224
10 Lenvil Elliott RB Northeast Missouri State 249
11 William Montgomery DB Morehouse (Ga.) 277
12 Boobie Clark RB Bethune-Cookman 302
13 Brooks West DT Texas-El Paso 327
14 Hurles Scales DB North Texas State 355
15 Ted McNulty QB Indiana 380
16 Harry Unger RB Auburn 405
17 Wayne Estabrook QB Whittier 433

Pro Bowl

Players selected for the 1973 NFL Pro Bowl: WR Isaac Curtis, DT Mike Reid, TE Bob Trumpy

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