Kickoff: 1 p.m. Eastern.
Television: The game will air on CBS-TV. In the Bengals' home region, it will be carried by WKRC-TV (Ch. 12) in Cincinnati, WHIO-TV (Ch. 7) in Dayton and on WKYT-TV (Ch. 27) in Lexington. Broadcasters are Spero Dedes (play-byplay) and Adam Archuleta (analyst).
Radio: The game will air on the Bengals Radio Network, led by Cincinnati flagship stations WLW-AM (700), WCKY-AM (ESPN 1530; all sports) and WEBN-FM (102.7). Broadcasters are Dan Hoard (play-by-play) and Dave Lapham (analyst).
Setting the scene: The Bengals this week hit the road to take on the Washington Football Team on Sunday at FedExField. Cincinnati will be looking to rebound from a 36-10 loss at Pittsburgh last week.
"We were not good enough in any area," said Bengals head coach Zac Taylor. "That's offense, defense, and special teams. And we really weren't good enough coaching, and that's on me 100 percent. I feel like I let these guys down, so it all starts with me."
The loss at Pittsburgh came under some of the most unique circumstances in team history. After dealing with its first COVID-19 cases during the Week 9 bye, Cincinnati was without four eligible players (including practice squad) and four assistant coaches against Pittsburgh for reasons related to the virus. Additionally, five listed starters were held out of the contest due to unrelated injuries, and a sixth — CB Mackensie Alexander — left in the first quarter due to a concussion.
"It's just part of the adversity you've got to handle in this league," Taylor said. "Next man up. Those guys don't make excuses, they go out and play. (The backups) wanted an opportunity, and they got an opportunity."
Cincinnati kept the game close early behind 189 passing yards and a TD from rookie QB Joe Burrow in the first half. But untimely penalties and turnovers thwarted several Bengals drives early, and Cincinnati failed to convert a third-down attempt all afternoon.
Burrow struggled in the second half, completing just five of his 15 attempts for 24 yards. Meanwhile, Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger passed for 333 yards and four TDs on the day, including two scores in the second half to extend Pittsburgh's margin.
This week, Burrow and the Bengals square off against a Washington team that boasts the NFL's top-ranked pass defense.
Washington enters Sunday's game 2-7, after losing 30-27 at Detroit last week.
The series: The Bengals lead 5-4-1, including a run of four straight matchups without a loss. The last meeting was a 27-27 tie at Wembley Stadium in London in 2016, which was preceded by three consecutive Bengals victories in '04, '08 and '12. Washington's last series win was a 34-27 decision at Cincinnati in 1991.
The Bengals have played fewer games against Washington (10) than against any other long-established NFL team except the N.Y. Giants (also 10), who the Bengals face next weekend. The only team with fewer than 10 meetings against Cincinnati is Carolina (six games), which did not begin play until 1995.
Though the Bengals-Washington series history isn't comprised of a lengthy list of matchups historically, it does include a pair of noteworthy and significant results for the Bengals, both occurring in the 1980s:
- In the 1988 season finale, at Riverfront Stadium, the Bengals won 20-17 in overtime, finishing 12-4 and clinching the AFC home field advantage for the playoffs. But it took a stroke of good fortune to reach Jim Breech's 20-yard winning field goal 7:01 into the overtime. On the final play of regulation, Washington K Chip Lohmiller had a 29-yard FG try glance off an upright for a miss. The Bengals went on to win their two home playoff games and advance to Super Bowl XXIII.
- In Game 15 of 1985, the Bengals traveled to RFK Stadium, fresh off a 50-24 shelling of Dallas that had Cincinnati tied at 7-7 for the AFC Central lead. The playoffs seemed to beckon when the Bengals took a 24-7 lead, but Washington scored 20 unanswered points to win, 27-24. Washington WR Art Monk caught 13 passes for 230 yards, both figures setting Bengals opponent records at the time. The Bengals' playoff hopes were extinguished prior to their season finale the next week. Their only title hope was in a three-way tie with Pittsburgh and Cleveland, and prior to Cincinnati's finale at New England, a Pittsburgh loss to the N.Y. Giants in a Saturday game clinched the title for Cleveland.
Bengals-Washington connections: Bengals HB Samaje Perine entered the NFL as a fourth-round draft pick of Washington in 2017, and was with the team through '19 preseason ... Washington QB Dwayne Haskins Jr., WR Terry McLaurin, DE Chase Young and TE Marcus Baugh (practice squad) all played at Ohio State University ... Washington T Geron Christian Sr. played at the University of Louisville ... Washington WR Jeff Badet played at the University of Kentucky ... Washington G West Martin is from West Milton, Ohio (Milton-Union High School) ... Bengals WR Scotty Washington (practice squad) is from Washington, D.C. (St. John's College High School) ... Bengals LB Keandre Jones (practice squad) is from Olney, Md. (Good Counsel High School), and played at the University of Maryland ... Bengals G Quinton Spain (practice squad) is from Petersburg, Va. (Petersburg High School) ... Bengals DT Andrew Brown (practice squad) is from Chesapeake, Va. (Oscar Smith High School), and played at the University of Virginia ... Washington K Kaare Vedvik (practice squad) was with the Bengals briefly in 2019 ... Washington quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese coached for the Bengals from 2003-17 (offensive coordinator from '16-17) ... Bengals senior defensive assistant Mark Duffner is from Annandale, Va., played at the College of William and Mary from 1972-74, and was head coach at the University of Maryland from 1992-96 ... Washington assistant offensive line coach Travelle Wharton played for the Bengals in 2012 ... Bengals secondary/cornerbacks coach Steve Jackson coached for Washington from 2004-11 ... Bengals secondary/safeties coach Robert Livingston played at the College of William and Mary from 2007-09 ... Bengals linebackers coach Al Golden coached at the University of Virginia from 1994-96, and 2001-05 ... Washington offensive line coach John Matsko coached at Miami (Ohio) University from 1974-75, and '77 ... Washington linebackers coach Steve Russ coached at Ohio University from 2001-04.
Burrow already making history: Not only has Bengals rookie QB Joe Burrow turned heads with his playmaking ability so far this season, his stats rank among the best ever by a first-time starting QB. His 242 completions and 370 pass attempts both are the most in NFL history by any QB through the first nine games of their career. His 2485 passing yards are fourth in that same category. Burrow ranks second in the NFL in pass attempts, third in completions and ninth in passing yards. Additionally, he has just five INTs, meaning just 1.4 percent of his attempts have been intercepted (seventh-best in the NFL).
Boyd, Mixon, Tee move the chains: Bengals WR Tyler Boyd this season has converted 38 first downs (37 receiving, one rushing), which ranks eighth in the AFC and tied for eighth in the NFL.
Not far behind Boyd is WR Tee Higgins, who is tied for 14th in the NFL with 33 first downs (32 receiving, one rushing). HB Joe Mixon, who has 25 first downs (20 rushing five receiving) remains within shouting distance despite missing Games 7-9 with a foot injury. Boyd, Mixon, and Higgins have moved the chains a combined 96 times this season, which is 45.9 percent of the team's 209 total first downs.
Gio passes J.B. for receptions lead: Already considered one of the top receiving running backs in team history, HB Giovani Bernard has further secured that status this season by surpassing a Bengals legend. With 323 career receptions, Bernard now stands as the Bengals' all-time leader in receptions by a running back. He passed former Bengal RB James Brooks (297) for first place in Game 1 vs. the L.A. Chargers. Brooks, however, still holds the Bengals' record for receiving yards by a running back at 3012, which is 293 ahead of Bernard's 2719.
Brooks played eight seasons (1984-91) with the Bengals, and this season is Bernard's eighth with the team.
Geno on HOF pace: Bengals DT Geno Atkins, an 11th-year pro, currently stands at 75.5 career sacks. That total stands third in team history and the most ever by a Bengals interior defensive lineman. But a closer look reveals that Atkins is on a Hall-of-Fame pace. When compared to defensive tackles already in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Atkins compares quite favorably at this point in his career.
Here's a look at the sack totals of notable Hall-of-Fame DTs through their 11th seasons, as well as where they stood at the end of their careers. It should be noted that Atkins missed nearly half of the 2013 season, due to a torn ACL. He has also also missed five games this season (four due to a shoulder injury, one for personal reasons).