Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis has won 79 games with the team since being hired in 2003. Through the year Lewis has more winning seasons (4) than losing (3) during his ten seasons and among the 164 games coached, there have been some great wins. We take a look at the top-five wins during the Marvin Lewis era in a series of posts. We continue with No. 3.
It was a special year in 2005. Fun. Enjoyable. There wasn't an opponent that we felt Cincinnati couldn't beat heading into any game. It was weird and unfamiliar territory.
The 10-3 Cincinnati Bengals opened with a 17-point lead in the first quarter against the Detroit Lions in week 15, eventually winning 41-17. Alright, so it's a blowout against a Detroit Lions team that finished 5-11. What could possibly be so important about this game, and why is it one of the most symbolic games during the Marvin Lewis era?
It wasn't so much that the Bengals struggled, then came from behind to win. Nor was it any sort of rivalry or, particularly exciting for that matter. Rudi Johnson rushed for 117 yards, scoring twice. Carson Palmer threw touchdown passes to Chad Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Kelley "The Squirrel" Washington, completing over 70% of his passes. John Thornton posted an interception, along with Deltha O'Neal and Tory James. It was the type of performance you expected out of the 2005 Bengals against inferior opponents.
What's the big deal?
The next day playoff tickets sold out and the Bengals returned to the postseason for the first time in 15 years several weeks later.