Generally, historically, the Bengals are not viewed as a Defensive team.
They've had some nice defensive players, but they've never been confused for an elite defensive unit (like a steel curtain or purple people eaters or such), but have had some very good Offensive seasons.
Usually when they've had a good season, it's been the offense carrying the defense.
In the 1988~1990 window, the Bengals finished in the top 10 offensively all 3 seasons, with an average placement of 4th. But in the 2 playoff years (1988 & 1990) they didn't finish in the top half of the league in defense.
Going back to the last playoff win (1990) the trend of bad defenses supplemented by good offenses has continued.
From the 1991 season up until a few years ago, their average finish in defense was 24th (out of 32 teams), while their offense averaged the middle of the pack.
From 1991 up until a few years ago the defense never finished in the top 10, while the offense had 5 finishes in the top-10 (2004~2006 Palmer/Chad/Rudi and 1996~1997 Blake/Pickens/Dillon)
But now that's all changing...
In the last 3 years they've had 2 top-10 defenses.
In 2009 they finished 6th in defense, and in 2011 they finished 9th in defense.
The Bengals defense has actually done BETTER than their offense for 3 of the last 4 seasons.
Contrast this with the fact that this had only happened in 3 times in the previous 20 seasons.
So after decades of being known as a team with bad defenses that has some good offensive seasons...are the Bengals becoming a DEFENSIVE team?
Oh, and if they are becoming a defensive team with an elite defensive unit, it's about time we celebrate it by giving their defense a great nickname - hopefully something better than draperies (like the steel curtain).