In terms of geek stats, Football Outsiders can't be beat. The site now evaluates how teams' performance was affected by injuries in 2008. The good news is that the Bengals' poor performance had a lot to do with injury. The analysis shows that they were the team most impacted by injury in 2008.
"Adjusted Games Lost" or "AGL" uses the injury report, the status and relevance of a player to his team, and historical data regarding how likely a given player is to play to produce a measure of how dramatically a team is affected by injury. A team's shift in AGL from year-to-year bears a significant correlation with changes in their win-loss record.
Other teams that were most affected by injury were St. Louis, Baltimore and Detroit.
This should give us hope. The Bengals were bad last year, but injuries had a lot to do with it.