2021 Cincinnati Bengals season
OwnerMike Brown
Head coachZac Taylor
Home fieldPaul Brown Stadium
Results
Record10–7
Division place1st AFC North
Playoff finishWon Wild Card Playoffs
(vs. Raiders) 26–19
Won Divisional Playoffs
(at Titans) 19–16
Won AFC Championship
(at Chiefs) 27–24 (OT)
Lost Super Bowl LVI
(vs.[A] Rams) 20–23
Pro BowlersSelected but did not play due to participation in Super Bowl LVI:
WR Ja'Marr Chase
RB Joe Mixon
DE Trey Hendrickson
AP All-ProsWR Ja'Marr Chase (2nd team)
Uniform

The 2021 season was the Cincinnati Bengals' 52nd season in the National Football League (NFL), their 54th overall and their third under head coach Zac Taylor. They also played in new uniforms for the first time since 2004.[1] The Bengals finished with a 10–7 record, exceeding their win total from the previous two seasons combined. The Bengals clinched their first winning season, first playoff appearance, and first AFC North title since 2015. It also marked their first Super Bowl appearance since 1988.[2][3]

The Bengals began their playoff run by defeating the Las Vegas Raiders in the wild-card round, winning their first playoff game since 1990, and ending what was the NFL's longest playoff win drought.[4] They beat the top-seeded Tennessee Titans in the divisional round, which not only marked their first-ever playoff win on the road but also allowed them to advance to the AFC Championship game for the first time since 1988. They upset the second-seeded Kansas City Chiefs in overtime. As a result, they advanced to Super Bowl LVI, their third Super Bowl in franchise history and first in 33 years.[5] Quarterback Joe Burrow became the first second-year quarterback since Russell Wilson in 2013 to reach a Super Bowl, and the first No. 1-picked QB to do so within their first two seasons. However, the Bengals lost to the Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl 23–20.

For first time since 2010, A. J. Green was not on the opening day roster.

Offseason

Free agents

As of March 15, 2021[6]

Unrestricted

Position Player 2021 Team Date signed Contract
CB Mackensie Alexander Minnesota Vikings March 26[7] 1 year, $1.127 million
QB Brandon Allen Cincinnati Bengals March 10[8] 1 year, $1.5 million
K Randy Bullock Detroit Lions March 18[9] 1 year, $1.5 million
MLB Josh Bynes Carolina Panthers August 11[10] 1 year, $850K
TE Cethan Carter Miami Dolphins March 15[11] 3 years, $7.8 million
DT Christian Covington Los Angeles Chargers May 10[12] 1 year, $990K
DT Mike Daniels Cincinnati Bengals March 31[13] 1 year, $2.5 million
WR Alex Erickson Houston Texans March 18[14] 1 year, $1.2 million
OLB Jordan Evans Cincinnati Bengals March 28[15] 1 year, $1.127 million
WR A. J. Green Arizona Cardinals March 17[16] 1 year, $8 million
LS Clark Harris Cincinnati Bengals March 3[17] 1 year, $1.2 million
P Kevin Huber Cincinnati Bengals March 22[18] 1 year, $1.637 million
DE Margus Hunt Arizona Cardinals August 11[19] 1 year, $1.075 million
CB William Jackson III Washington Football Team March 16[20] 3 years, $42 million
DE Carl Lawson New York Jets March 15[21] 3 years, $45 million
RB Samaje Perine Cincinnati Bengals March 17[22] 2 years, $3.3 million
G Alex Redmond New England Patriots May 17[23] 1 year, $1.080 million
WR John Ross New York Giants March 16[24] 1 year, $2.5 million
CB LeShaun Sims
G Quinton Spain Cincinnati Bengals March 23[25] 1 year, $1.127 million
WR Mike Thomas Cincinnati Bengals March 18[26] 1 year, $1.015 million
S Shawn Williams Arizona Cardinals March 29[27] 1 year, $1.075 million
DT Xavier Williams Arizona Cardinals June 7[28] 1 year, $990K
FS Brandon Wilson Cincinnati Bengals March 16[29] 2 years, $4.625 million

Restricted

Position Player 2021 Team Date signed Contract
CB Tony Brown Cincinnati Bengals March 17[30] 1 year, $920K

Exclusive-Rights

Position Player 2021 Team Date signed Contract
DE Amani Bledsoe Cincinnati Bengals March 31[31] 1 year, $780K
CB Jalen Davis Cincinnati Bengals March 3[32] 1 year, $850K

Signings

Position Player 2020 team Date signed Contract
DE Trey Hendrickson New Orleans Saints March 15[33] 4 years, $60 million
CB Chidobe Awuzie Dallas Cowboys March 16[34] 3 years, $21.75 million
CB Mike Hilton Pittsburgh Steelers March 16[35] 4 years, $24 million
DT Larry Ogunjobi Cleveland Browns March 17[36] 1 year, $6.2 million
OT Riley Reiff Minnesota Vikings March 19[37] 1 year, $7.5 million
CB Eli Apple Carolina Panthers March 23[38] 1 year, $1.2 million
S Ricardo Allen Atlanta Falcons March 24[39] 1 year, $1.49 million
TE Thaddeus Moss Washington Football Team April 12[40] 1 year, $660K
WR Trent Taylor San Francisco 49ers May 17[41] 1 year, $920K
S Kavon Frazier Miami Dolphins May 27[42] 1 year, $990K
WR Reece Horn Tampa Bay Vipers (XFL) July 26[43] 1 year, $660K

Releases

Position Player Date released 2021 team Contract
C B. J. Finney March 5[44] Pittsburgh Steelers[45] 1 year, $1.127 million
DT Geno Atkins March 19[46]
OT Bobby Hart March 19[46] Buffalo Bills[47] 1 year, $1.127 million
RB Giovani Bernard April 7[48] Tampa Bay Buccaneers[49] 1 year, $1.075 million

Trades

Draft

Main article: 2021 NFL Draft

2021 Cincinnati Bengals draft
Round Pick Player Position College Notes
1 5 Ja'Marr Chase *  Wide receiver LSU First Season Starter
2 46 Jackson Carman  Tackle Clemson from New England
3 69 Joseph Ossai  Defensive end Texas
4 111 Cameron Sample  Defensive end Tulane
4 122 Tyler Shelvin  Defensive tackle LSU from Arizona via Houston and New England
4 139 D'Ante Smith  Tackle East Carolina from New England
5 149 Evan McPherson  Kicker Florida 1st Season Starter
6 190 Trey Hill  Center Georgia
6 202 Chris Evans  Running back Michigan from Miami via Houston
7 235 Wyatt Hubert  Defensive end Kansas State from Detroit via Seattle
      Made roster    †   Pro Football Hall of Fame    *   Made at least one Pro Bowl during career

Trades

Undrafted free agents

The Bengals announced their Undrafted free agent class on May 14.[52]

2021 Undrafted Free Agents
Player Position College Date Cut
Pooka Williams Jr. RB Kansas May 14[53] August 31[54]
Pro Wells TE TCU August 16[55]
Antonio Phillips CB Ball State August 31[54]
Darius Hodge DE Marshall
Riley Lees WR Northwestern August 16[55]
Drue Chrisman P Ohio State August 31[54]
Gunnar Vogel OT Northwestern July 27[56]

Staff

2021 Cincinnati Bengals staff

Front office

  • Owner/president – Mike Brown
  • Executive vice president – Katie Blackburn
  • Vice president – Troy Blackburn
  • Vice president of player personnel – Paul Brown Jr.
  • Director of player personnel – Duke Tobin
  • Personnel executive – Bill Tobin
  • College scouting director – Mike Potts
  • Pro scouting director – Steven Radicevic

Head coaches

Offensive coaches

Defensive coaches

Special teams coaches

Strength and conditioning

  • Strength and conditioning – Joey Boese
  • Assistant strength and conditioning – Todd Hunt
  • Assistant strength and conditioning – Garrett Swanson

Final roster

2021 Cincinnati Bengals final roster
Quarterbacks

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen

Linebackers

Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists


Practice squad


Rookies in italics
53 active, 11 inactive, 16 practice squad (+2 exempt)

NFL Top 100

Main article: NFL Top 100 Players of 2021

Rank Player Position Change
73 Trey Hendrickson DE N/A
90 Jessie Bates FS N/A

Preseason

The Bengals' preseason opponents and schedule were announced on May 12.

Week Date Opponent Result Record Venue Recap
1 August 14 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers W 19–14 1–0 Raymond James Stadium Recap
2 August 20 at Washington Football Team L 13–17 1–1 FedExField Recap
3 August 29 Miami Dolphins L 26–29 1–2 Paul Brown Stadium Recap

Regular season

Schedule

The Bengals 2021 schedule was announced on May 12.[57]

Week Date Opponent Result Record Venue Recap
1 September 12 Minnesota Vikings W 27–24 (OT) 1–0 Paul Brown Stadium Recap
2 September 19 at Chicago Bears L 17–20 1–1 Soldier Field Recap
3 September 26 at Pittsburgh Steelers W 24–10 2–1 Heinz Field Recap
4 September 30 Jacksonville Jaguars W 24–21 3–1 Paul Brown Stadium Recap
5 October 10 Green Bay Packers L 22–25 (OT) 3–2 Paul Brown Stadium Recap
6 October 17 at Detroit Lions W 34–11 4–2 Ford Field Recap
7 October 24 at Baltimore Ravens W 41–17 5–2 M&T Bank Stadium Recap
8 October 31 at New York Jets L 31–34 5–3 MetLife Stadium Recap
9 November 7 Cleveland Browns L 16–41 5–4 Paul Brown Stadium Recap
10 Bye
11 November 21 at Las Vegas Raiders W 32–13 6–4 Allegiant Stadium Recap
12 November 28 Pittsburgh Steelers W 41–10 7–4 Paul Brown Stadium Recap
13 December 5 Los Angeles Chargers L 22–41 7–5 Paul Brown Stadium Recap
14 December 12 San Francisco 49ers L 23–26 (OT) 7–6 Paul Brown Stadium Recap
15 December 19 at Denver Broncos W 15–10 8–6 Empower Field at Mile High Recap
16 December 26 Baltimore Ravens W 41–21 9–6 Paul Brown Stadium Recap
17 January 2 Kansas City Chiefs W 34–31 10–6 Paul Brown Stadium Recap
18 January 9 at Cleveland Browns L 16–21 10–7 FirstEnergy Stadium Recap

Note: Intra-division opponents are in bold text.

Game summaries

Week 1: vs. Minnesota Vikings

Week 1: Minnesota Vikings at Cincinnati Bengals – Game summary
Period 1 2 34OTTotal
Vikings 0 7 710024
Bengals 0 14 73327

at Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio

Game information

Week 2: at Chicago Bears

Week 2: Cincinnati Bengals at Chicago Bears – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Bengals 0 0 31417
Bears 7 0 01320

at Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois

Game information

Week 3: at Pittsburgh Steelers

Week 3: Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Bengals 7 7 10024
Steelers 0 7 0310

at Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Game information

This was Cincinnati's first win in Pittsburgh since 2015.

Week 4: vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Week 4: Jacksonville Jaguars at Cincinnati Bengals – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Jaguars 7 7 0721
Bengals 0 0 141024

at Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio

Game information

The Bengals improved to 3–1 for the first time since 2018 with this win, despite only taking the lead with 4 seconds left in the game on a game winning Evan McPherson field goal. Burrow was recognized as the AFC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance in this game, in which he completed 25 out of 32 passes for a total of 348 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions, posting a 132.8 passer rating.[58]

Week 5: vs. Green Bay Packers

Week 5: Green Bay Packers at Cincinnati Bengals – Game summary
Period 1 2 34OTTotal
Packers 0 16 33325
Bengals 7 7 08022

at Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio

Game information

Week 6: at Detroit Lions

Week 6: Cincinnati Bengals at Detroit Lions – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Bengals 7 3 101434
Lions 0 0 01111

at Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan

  • Date: October 17
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. EDT
  • Game weather: None (indoor stadium)
  • Game attendance: 50,831
  • Referee: Shawn Hochuli
  • TV announcers (Fox): Chris Myers, Daryl Johnston and Jen Hale
  • Recap, Game Book
Game information

Week 7: at Baltimore Ravens

Week 7: Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Bengals 3 10 141441
Ravens 0 10 7017

at M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Maryland

  • Date: October 24
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. EDT
  • Game weather: Cloudy, 61 °F (16 °C)
  • Game attendance: 70,659
  • Referee: Tony Corrente
  • TV announcers (CBS): Kevin Harlan, Trent Green and Melanie Collins
  • Recap, Game Book
Game information

Week 8: at New York Jets

Week 8: Cincinnati Bengals at New York Jets – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Bengals 0 17 7731
Jets 7 7 31734

at MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey

  • Date: October 31
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. EDT
  • Game weather: Partly cloudy, 64 °F (18 °C)
  • Game attendance: 67,503
  • Referee: Craig Wrolstad
  • TV announcers (CBS): Kevin Harlan, Trent Green and Melanie Collins
  • Recap, Game Book
Game information

Week 9: vs. Cleveland Browns

Week 9: Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Browns 7 17 10741
Bengals 7 3 0616

at Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio

Game information

Week 11: at Las Vegas Raiders

Week 11: Cincinnati Bengals at Las Vegas Raiders – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Bengals 3 7 31932
Raiders 3 3 0713

at Allegiant Stadium, Paradise, Nevada

Game information

Week 12: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Week 12: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Steelers 3 0 0710
Bengals 10 21 3741

at Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio

  • Date: November 28
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. EST
  • Game weather: Sunny, 44 °F (7 °C)
  • Game attendance: 63,238
  • Referee: Bill Vinovich
  • TV announcers (CBS): Kevin Harlan, Trent Green and Melanie Collins
  • Recap, Game Book
Game information

Week 13: vs. Los Angeles Chargers

Week 13: Los Angeles Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Chargers 16 8 01741
Bengals 0 13 9022

at Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio

  • Date: December 5
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. EST
  • Game weather: Cloudy, 51 °F (11 °C)
  • Game attendance: 51,414
  • Referee: Shawn Hochuli
  • TV announcers (CBS): Ian Eagle, Charles Davis and Evan Washburn
  • Recap, Game Book
Game information

Week 14: vs. San Francisco 49ers

Week 14: San Francisco 49ers at Cincinnati Bengals – Game summary
Period 1 2 34OTTotal
49ers 3 14 30626
Bengals 3 3 014323

at Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio

  • Date: December 12
  • Game time: 4:25 p.m. EST
  • Game weather: Sunny, 45 °F (7 °C)
  • Game attendance: 50,481
  • Referee: Craig Wrolstad
  • TV announcers (CBS): Greg Gumbel, Adam Archuleta and AJ Ross
  • Recap, Game Book
Game information

Week 15: at Denver Broncos

Week 15: Cincinnati Bengals at Denver Broncos – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Bengals 3 3 9015
Broncos 0 3 7010

at Empower Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado

  • Date: December 19
  • Game time: 4:05 p.m. EST/2:05 p.m. MST
  • Game weather: Sunny, 61 °F (16 °C)
  • Game attendance: 76,134
  • Referee: Adrian Hill
  • TV announcers (CBS): Ian Eagle, Charles Davis and Evan Washburn
  • Recap, Game Book
Game information

Week 16: vs. Baltimore Ravens

Week 16: Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Ravens 7 7 0721
Bengals 10 21 3741

at Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio

  • Date: December 26
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. EST
  • Game weather: Mostly sunny, 53 °F (12 °C)
  • Game attendance: 63,922
  • Referee: Clete Blakeman
  • TV announcers (CBS): Kevin Harlan, Trent Green and Melanie Collins
  • Recap, Game Book
Game information

With the win this marks the first time since 2009 that the Bengals swept division rivals Pittsburgh and Baltimore in the same season.

Week 17: vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Week 17: Kansas City Chiefs at Cincinnati Bengals – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Chiefs 14 14 0331
Bengals 7 10 71034

at Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio

  • Date: January 2
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. EST
  • Game weather: Cloudy, 33 °F (1 °C)
  • Game attendance: 64,505
  • Referee: Ronald Torbert
  • TV announcers (CBS): Jim Nantz, Tony Romo and Tracy Wolfson
  • Recap, Game Book
Game information

Week 18: at Cleveland Browns

Week 18: Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Bengals 0 7 3616
Browns 7 7 0721

at FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio

  • Date: January 9
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. EST
  • Game weather: Rain, 37 °F (3 °C)
  • Game attendance: 67,431
  • Referee: Bill Vinovich
  • TV announcers (Fox): Kenny Albert, Jonathan Vilma and Lindsay Czarniak
  • Recap, GameBook
Game information

Standings

Division

AFC North
W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA STK
(4) Cincinnati Bengals 10 7 0 .588 4–2 8–4 460 376 L1
(7) Pittsburgh Steelers 9 7 1 .559 4–2 7–5 343 398 W2
Cleveland Browns 8 9 0 .471 3–3 5–7 349 371 W1
Baltimore Ravens 8 9 0 .471 1–5 5–7 387 392 L6

Conference

# Team Division W L T PCT DIV CONF SOS SOV STK
Division winners
1[a] Tennessee Titans South 12 5 0 .706 5–1 8–4 .472 .480 W3
2[a] Kansas City Chiefs West 12 5 0 .706 5–1 7–5 .538 .517 W1
3 Buffalo Bills East 11 6 0 .647 5–1 7–5 .472 .428 W4
4 Cincinnati Bengals North 10 7 0 .588 4–2 8–4 .472 .462 L1
Wild cards
5[b] Las Vegas Raiders West 10 7 0 .588 3–3 8–4 .510 .515 W4
6[b] New England Patriots East 10 7 0 .588 3–3 8–4 .481 .394 L1
7 Pittsburgh Steelers North 9 7 1 .559 4–2 7–5 .521 .490 W2
Did not qualify for the postseason
8[c] Indianapolis Colts South 9 8 0 .529 3–3 7–5 .495 .431 L2
9[c][d] Miami Dolphins East 9 8 0 .529 4–2 6–6 .464 .379 W1
10[c][d] Los Angeles Chargers West 9 8 0 .529 3–3 6–6 .510 .500 L1
11[e] Cleveland Browns North 8 9 0 .471 3–3 5–7 .514 .415 W1
12[e] Baltimore Ravens North 8 9 0 .471 1–5 5–7 .531 .460 L6
13 Denver Broncos West 7 10 0 .412 1–5 3–9 .484 .357 L4
14[f] New York Jets East 4 13 0 .235 0–6 4–8 .512 .426 L2
15[f] Houston Texans South 4 13 0 .235 3–3 4–8 .498 .397 L2
16 Jacksonville Jaguars South 3 14 0 .176 1–5 3–9 .512 .569 W1
Tiebreakers[g]
  1. ^ a b Tennessee finished ahead of Kansas City based on head-to-head victory.
  2. ^ a b Las Vegas finished ahead of New England based on win percentage in common games (5–1 vs. 2–4 against: Miami, Dallas, LA Chargers, Cleveland, and Indianapolis).
  3. ^ a b c Indianapolis finished ahead of Miami and Los Angeles based on conference record (7–5 vs. 6–6).
  4. ^ a b Miami finished ahead of LA Chargers based on win percentage in common games (5–1 vs. 2–4 against: New England, Las Vegas, Houston, Baltimore, and NY Giants).
  5. ^ a b Cleveland finished ahead of Baltimore based on division record (3–3 vs. 1–5).
  6. ^ a b NY Jets finished ahead of Houston based on head-to-head victory.
  7. ^ When breaking ties for three or more teams under the NFL's rules, they are first broken within divisions, then comparing only the highest-ranked remaining team from each division.

Postseason

See also: 2021–22 NFL playoffs

Schedule

Round Date Opponent (seed) Result Record Venue Recap
Wild Card January 15 Las Vegas Raiders (5) W 26–19 1–0 Paul Brown Stadium Recap
Divisional January 22 at Tennessee Titans (1) W 19–16 2–0 Nissan Stadium Recap
AFC Championship January 30 at Kansas City Chiefs (2) W 27–24 (OT) 3–0 Arrowhead Stadium Recap
Super Bowl LVI February 13 vs.[A] Los Angeles Rams (N4) L 20–23 3–1 SoFi Stadium Recap

Game summaries

AFC Wild Card Playoffs: vs. (5) Las Vegas Raiders

AFC Wild Card Playoffs: (5) Las Vegas Raiders at (4) Cincinnati Bengals – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Raiders 3 10 0619
Bengals 10 10 3326

at Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio

Game information

AFC Divisional Playoffs: at (1) Tennessee Titans

AFC Divisional Playoffs: (4) Cincinnati Bengals at (1) Tennessee Titans – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Bengals 6 3 7319
Titans 0 6 10016

at Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tennessee

Game information

AFC Championship: at (2) Kansas City Chiefs

AFC Championship: (4) Cincinnati Bengals at (2) Kansas City Chiefs – Game summary
Period 1 2 34OTTotal
Bengals 3 7 113327
Chiefs 7 14 03024

at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri

Game information

Super Bowl LVI: vs. (N4) Los Angeles Rams

[A]

Main article: Super Bowl LVI

Super Bowl LVI: (N4) Los Angeles Rams vs. (A4) Cincinnati Bengals – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Rams 7 6 3723
Bengals 3 7 10020

at SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, California

Notes

  1. ^ a b c Despite being played in the Rams' home stadium, the Super Bowl is officially considered a neutral site game. The Bengals were the designated home team based on annual conference rotation.

Statistics

Team

Category Total yards Yards per game NFL rank
(out of 32)
Passing offense 4,403 259.0 7th
Rushing offense 1,742 102.5 23rd
Total offense 6,145 361.5 13th
Passing defense 4,222 248.4 26th
Rushing defense 1,742 102.5 5th
Total defense 5,964 350.8 18th

Individual

Category Player Total yards
Offense
Passing Joe Burrow 4,611
Rushing Joe Mixon 1,205
Receiving Ja'Marr Chase 1,455
Defense
Tackles (Solo) Jessie Bates 67
Sacks Trey Hendrickson 14
Interceptions Logan Wilson 4

Statistics correct as of the end of the 2021 NFL season[59][60]

References

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