How The Cincinnati Bengals Built a Super Bowl Worthy Team

In the 2019 NFL season, the Cincinnati Bengals tied their worst ever regular-season record. In 2020 they improved slightly, but they still struggled with a poor record. 

However, this season the Bengals finished at 10-7, won the AFC North and the AFC Championship, and are about to play in the Super Bowl for the first time since 1988. 

The Bengals have completely turned their team around. How have they done it?  Well, that is what we are going to look at today, starting with what went so wrong in 2020… 

The 2020 Season 

2019 was one of the worst season the Bengals had ever had at 2-14. With the worst record in the league, the Bengals earned the first pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, where they selected Joe Burrow, a quarterback they believed could change their fortunes. 

Burrow was the first rookie quarterback back to start in 2020 as he opened the season and he played 10 games for the Bengals before getting injured. 

While he was on the field, Burrow showed a lot of promise. He became the first rookie in NFL history with at least 400 passing yards, three passing touchdowns, and a rushing touchdown in a single game. 

However, it wasn't enough as the Bengals ended at 4-11-1, one of their worst records ever. 

Draft Picks 2021 

The Bengals front office knew the team needed to be rebuilt through the draft, as they had many needs on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.  The 2021 draft featured picks on both sides of the ball.  

Round 1:  Ja'Marr Chase, WR. More about him later, but Chase became the first player to wear #1 for the Bengals 

Round 2:  Jackson Carman, OT - Carman started six games in the regular season. We expect to be seeing a lot of Carman at the Super Bowl this year. 

Round 3: Joseph Ossai, DE - Ossai was a breakout star in training camp before suffering a knee injury in the first preseason game, requiring knee surgery that ended his season. We are wishing Ossai a swift recovery from his injury and hope that we get to see him play next season. 

Round 4: Cameron Sample, DE.  Sample ended his season with 5 solo tackles and 1.5 sacks in 8 games. 

Round 4: Tyler Shelvin, DT - Shelin put in his best performance in week 18 against the Browns, coming off the bench for 3 assisted tackles and a solo tackle. 

Round 4: D'Ante Smith, OT - We only got to see D'Ante Smith play 2 games this year.  Hopefully, we will see more from him next season. 

Round 5: Evan McPherson, K.  More about him below, but McPherson has had an excellent year. 

Round 6: Trey Hill, C - Hill played in 13 games this season, starting 3. 

Round 6: Chris Evans, RB - Evans did not get much playing time this season behind starting running back Joe Mixon, but we hope he gets into the mix more in 2022.

Round 7: Wyatt Hubert, DE. - Unfortunately Hubert missed his entire rookie season after requiring surgery for a torn pectoral muscle. We are also wishing Hubert a swift recovery. 

2021: Joe Burrow

This season Burrow led the league in both passing completion percentage (70.4%) and average yards per pass (8.9). He completed 366 passes for a total of 4,611 yards and 34 touchdowns in 16 games. 

Burrow has had the talent around him to back him up this year.  However, it is worth noting that Burrow didn't have a perfect year, as he was sacked 51 times in the regular season and 12 times in the playoffs. Regardless of what happens in the Super Bowl, the Bengals front office will have to improve the offensive line.

2021: Evan McPherson 

McPherson was a 5th round pick in the Draft and 149th overall. He was probably the best bargain the Bengals got in the draft, and maybe the best bargain in the league. 

McPherson has put in an incredible performance for the Bengals this season. He has successfully made 85% of his FGs and 95% of his PATs.  He has helped the Bengals out of a lot of tight spots and even kicked a few game-winning field goals. 

His stats were even better in the playoffs! He kicked 100% of his field goals and his PATs. McPherson has the kind of accuracy that will give the Bengals confidence going into the Super Bowl this weekend. 

2021: Ja'Marr Chase 

Chase was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year at the NFL Awards this past Thursday. 

No superlative could really do justice to the hard work that Chase has put in this year for the Bengals. Chase was their first pick in the Draft and the number 3 pick overall. 

This season, Chase caught 81 passes for 1,455 yards, scoring 13 receiving touchdowns in the regular season and one in the playoffs. 

In the playoffs, Chase broke the NFL rookie record for most receiving yards with 279 in three games, breaking the previous record of 242 yards. 

Super Bowl LVI

Can Zac Taylor lead the Bengals to victory in Super Bowl LVI and be the main target for the Super Bowl Gatorade Shower betting odds?  Game time is rapidly approaching, and by now the game plan should already be in place.  The Rams are the favorites, but everyone loves the underdog and the Bengals have been on a great run in the playoffs.  The game should be fun to watch.

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