BENGALS GAMEDAY: Photos, analysis, video highlights, stats* * *
Updated: 1-1-07, 2:40 p.m.
With four catches for 53 yards in Sunday's loss to the Steelers, Johnson becomes the first player in NFL history to win four straight conference receiving titles. The Colts' Marvin Harrison finished three yards short of Johnson.
"It was all right," said Johnson of a season that ended with 10 catches for 122 yards in the last three games.
With the word selfish being the watchword of the postgame locker room, Johnson seemed to think eyes were turning to him.
"What do you mean by selfish?" Johnson asked. "If selfish means you want the ball so you can help your team win ... other than that, I'm not so sure."
Wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who became the third Bengal (Johnson, Carl Pickens) to have a 90-catch season Sunday, agreed.
"They should want us to want the ball," he said ."I don't think it got to the point where we hurt the team."
Johnson, who finished with 87 catches, wasn't going to get into the whys of the Bengals' underachieving season.
"I can't do any evaluating myself because I'm not perfect myself," Johnson said. "I'm not in position to critique us because I had things wrong with me also. The only thing now is to regroup. Come back in three months and get ready for '07."
EASIER SKED: The Bengals have an easier schedule for 2007, but not by much. Their foes have won a combined eight fewer games with 131, just off the 139 that gave them and the New York Giants the toughest schedule heading into this season.
The Bengals play the AFC East, including home games against the playoff-bound Patriots and Jets and games at sub-.500 Buffalo and Miami. They also play the NFC West and have a road game at division champion Seattle.
When the dust cleared Sunday, the Bengals' two AFC wild card games turned out to be a home game against the 8-8 Titans and the third straight year they play the playoff-bound Chiefs on the road. Those games came virtue of the Bengals second-place finish in the AFC North matched with the second-place finishes of Tennessee and Kansas City.
NO. 18: According to NFL.com, the Bengals pick 18th in the 2007 draft. They are one of eight teams locked at 8-8 and their strength of schedule (.535) put them sixth on the list ahead of the Titans at 19 and the Giants, a club that can drop lower than 20 pending the playoffs.
The Jaguars are picking ahead of Cincinnati at No. 17. The only time the Bengals have had the 18th pick they selected Colorado linebacker Alfred Williams in 1991. The Cowboys used the 18th pick last season to draft Ohio State linebacker Bobby Carpenter.
BIG HOUSE: Sunday's crowd of 66,049, the third largest Paul Brown Stadium crowd in Bengals history, gave the club its third straight attendance record of 527,870, passing last season's 526,469.