Shortly after re-signing for a Bengals-record ninth season as head coach, Marvin Lewis had a message for Bengals fans upset over the 2010 team's 4-12 record. "I will fix us," Lewis pledged, and the record would bear him out. Lewis led a young team — the AFC's youngest as of Week 1 — to a 9-7 record and a Wild Card playoff berth. Cincinnati lost at Houston in the Wild Card game. The young Bengals squad was not able to work with the coaching staff until late July, due to a player lockout over labor issues that had begun in March. The lockout ended just as training camps were due to open, with the announcement of a new NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement. But Cincinnati's players had staged numerous workouts on their own during the lockout, and two veteran leaders — DT Domata Peko and OT Andrew Whitworth — were accorded great credit for helping the team hang together in preparation for its surprise season. The Bengals defied widespread last-place predictions from preseason analysts by putting new offensive pieces together quickly. Working in the scheme of new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, the club's top two draft picks — WR A.J. Green and QB Andy Dalton— became the first rookie QB-WR duo in NFL history to make the Pro Bowl. K Mike Nugent, from nearby Centerville, Ohio, set club records (still standing through 2017) for points (132) and FGs (33) in a season. The defense, in its fourth season under coordinator Mike Zimmer, ranked seventh in the NFL. DT Geno Atkins, a fourth-round 2010 draft pick, began emerging as one of the best draft steals in franchise history, tying for the NFL lead in sacks (7.5) among interior linemen and earning his first Pro Bowl berth. Dalton's success at QB led to the Bengals trading holdout veteran QB Carson Palmer to Oakland on Oct. 18, and Cincinnati received Oakland's first-round 2012 draft choice and second-round 2013 draft choice. The picks were used on CB Dre Kirkpatrick (2012) and HB Giovani Bernard (2013). On July 29, the Bengals traded talented but problematic Chad Johnson, their all-time leader in receptions (751) and receiving yards (10,783), to New England for a fifth-round and a sixth-round draft choice. Cincinnati used the picks to draft WRs Marvin Jones (2012) and Cobi Hamilton (2013). Johnson would make only 15 more NFL catches, released by New England in June of 2012 and released by Miami the following August. Lewis closed the year with 69 career victories, passing Sam Wyche (64) for most by a Bengals head coach. Through 2010, Lewis had been tied with Wyche and Paul Brown for most seasons as Bengals head coach (eight).

AFC Wild Card Playoff

The visiting Bengals set the tone early with a one-yard Cedric Benson TD, a Mike Nugent FG and a strong defensive first half. But big plays would prove to be the difference in the game, and Houston had plenty. With 52 seconds left in the first half, Texans DE J.J. Watt intercepted an Andy Dalton pass and returned it 29 yards for a TD, stirring an already-raucous Reliant Stadium crowd. Trailing 17-10 entering the second half, the Bengals briefly kept the game close, but the Texans pulled ahead 24-10 when WR Andre Johnson scored on a 40-yard reception with 1:08 left in the third quarter. With 5:15 left in the contest, Texans RB Arian Foster, who had a game-high 152 rushing yards, ran 42 yards down the right sideline for a TD that completed the scoring. Bengals QB and Houston area native Andy Dalton passed 27-for-42 for 257 yards, but had three INTs. Houston advanced to the divisional round of the playoffs with the win, but lost to the Baltimore Ravens in that game, 20-13.

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League Rankings

Table inside Article
OFFENSE20 (319.9)19 (111.1)20 (208.8)
DEFENSE7 (316.3)10 (104.7)9 (211.6)
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Year Totals

Table inside Article
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Individual Leaders

Table inside Article
Mike NugentScoring
Andy DaltonPassing
Cedric BensonRushing
A.J. GreenReceptions
A.J. GreenReceiving Yards
Kevin HuberPunting
Brandon TatePunt Returns
Brandon TateKickoff Returns
Mike NugentField Goals
Reggie NelsonInterceptions
Geno AtkinsSacks
111009-Bengals_Jaguars-AP_111009049508-John Raoux-NEW

Coaching Staff

Table inside Article
Marvin LewisHead Coach
Paul AlexanderAssistant Head Coach / Offensive Line
Jim AndersonRunning Backs
Kyle CaskeyOffensive Quality Control
Kevin CoyleDefensive Backs
Jeff FitzGeraldLinebackers
Jeff FridayAssistant Strength and Conditioning
Jay GrudenOffensive Coordinator
Paul GuentherAssistant Defensive Backs / Assistant Special Teams
Jay HayesDefensive Line
Jonathan HayesTight Ends
David LippincottDefensive Quality Control
Chip MortonStrength and Conditioning
Darrin SimmonsSpecial Teams
James UrbanWide Receivers
Ken ZampeseQuarterbacks
Mike ZimmerDefensive Coordinator
11120-Bengals_Ravens-AP_111120117382-Nick Wass-NEW

2011 NFL Draft: April 28 - 30

Table inside Article
1A.J. GreenWRGeorgia4
2Andy DaltonQBTexas Christian35
3Dontay MochLBNevada66
4Clint BolingGGeorgia101
5Robert SandsSWest Virginia134
6Ryan WhalenWRStanford167
7aKorey LindseyCBSouthern Illinois207
7bJay FinleyHBBaylor*246

*NOTE: The Bengals received one compensatory pick (No. 246).

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Pro Bowl

Players selected for the 2011 Pro Bowl: DT Geno Atkins, QB Andy Dalton, WR A.J. Green, TE Jermaine Gresham

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