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The Bengals entered the season with big plans, after finishing 10-6 in 1986, but their aspirations were to be dashed. They started 1-1, but the loss was an exceedingly painful one, as Cincinnati lost to San Francisco despite having a lead and the ball with :06 to play. After that loss, the NFL players' union went on strike. Games scheduled for Week 3 were canceled, and the next three games were played primarily by replacement players. Cincinnati went 1-2 in the three "replacement games." The replacement-player strategy led to picketing by Bengals veterans outside the team's practice facility, but replacement ball was effective in breaking the strike. A total of 85 NFL veterans crossed picket lines to play in the first replacement games, and though the Bengals were a stronger union team than many, LB Reggie Williams was among the 85. The flow increased after the first replacement weekend, though the Bengals had only one additional defection from the strike ranks, DE Eddie Edwards. But veterans agreed league-wide to return for Game 6 and beyond, without a settlement to their labor issues. The "real Bengals," however, could not get it back together again, posting a 2-8 record after their return, for a 4-11 overall team finish. The season ended with widespread speculation that fourth-year head coach Sam Wyche would be replaced, but Bengals general manager Paul Brown announced Dec. 30 that the club would honor the final year of Wyche's five-year contract. Brown termed the 1987 season "an aberration" for which Wyche should not take the brunt of blame, and looking ahead to 1988, Brown told media, "We have a team with talent, and yours truly does not consider this to be a rebuilding year." Brown and Wyche, of course, were to be vindicated as the Bengals would go on on to win the 1988 AFC Championship. One bright spot from '87 was the first Pro Bowl berth for NT Tim Krumrie, the 10th-round '83 draft choice who had already earned status as a key player and fan favorite. Prior to the '87 campaign, Bengals Nation saw the end of an era, as QB Ken Anderson announced his retirement on June 2. The 1986 season had been Anderson's 16th as a Bengal, a term that stands through 2017 as the longest in franchise history. Anderson had participated in the team's spring mini-camp, but he changed his mind about a 17th season following a late May exam that showed reduced strength in his right (throwing) shoulder. "The doc told me, 'You're starting to wear out a little bit,' " Anderson said, "and there is life after football. I want to make sure that I can continue to play golf and otherwise enjoy that life."

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League Rankings

Table inside Article
OFFENSE 5 (358.5) 4 (144.3) 9 (214.2)
DEFENSE 8 (313.1) 8 (109.4) 14 (203.7)

Year Totals

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OFFENSE 1045 319 2164 3213 5377 285
DEFENSE 937 286 1641 3056 4697 370
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Individual Leaders

Table inside Article
Jim Breech Scoring
Boomer Esiason Passing
Larry Kinnebrew Rushing
Eddie Brown Receptions
Eddie Brown Receiving Yards
Scott Fulhage Punting
Mike Martin Punt Returns
Barney Bussey Kickoff Returns
Jim Breech Field Goals
Robert Jackson, David Fulcher Interceptions
Reggie Williams Sacks

Coaching Staff

Table inside Article
Sam Wyche Head Coach
Jim Anderson Running Backs
Bruce Coslet Offensive Coordinator
Bill Johnson Tight Ends
Dick LeBeau Defensive Coordinator
Jim McNally Offensive Line
Dick Selcer Linebackers
Mike Stock Special Teams
Bill Urbanik Defensive Line
Kim Wood Strength

1987 NFL Draft: April 24 - 25

Table inside Article
1 Jason Buck DE Brigham Young 17
2 Eric Thomas CB Tulane 49
3a Leonard Bell FS Indiana 76
3b Skip McClendon (acquired from Seattle in trade on 8-27-86) DE Arizona State 77
4 Jim Riggs TE Clemson 103
5a Marc Logan RB Kentucky 130
5b Greg Horne (acquired from Denver in trade on 10-9-84) P/PK Arkansas 139
6 Sonny Gordon FS Ohio State 157
7 Chris Thatcher G/C Lafayette 188
8 Solomon Wilcots CB Colorado 215
9 Craig Raddatz LB Wisconsin 242
10 David McCluskey RB Georgia 269
11 Jim Warne T Arizona State 296
12 John Holifield RB West Virginia 328

Pro Bowl

Players selected for the 1987 NFL Pro Bowl: NT Tim Krumrie, OT Anthony Munoz