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Bengals have recently changed trend of losses following bye weeks

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Bye weeks have been steadily bringing more good news in recent years. But, as a whole, bye weeks are historically not kind to the Bengals.

Cincinnati Bengals v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

During Marvin Lewis’ time in Cincinnati, the Bengals have typically not performed particularly well after the bye week. During the Carson Palmer era (2003-2010), the Bengals recorded a measly 2-5-1 record in games played after their bye week. More often than not, those teams looked disorganized and generally not on the same page after the team enjoyed a week off.

That said, the Bengals have typically been bad after the bye week ever since the week off was first established as a standard part of the NFL schedule in the 1990 season. Before Lewis came to town, the Bengals recorded a putrid 2-12 record after the bye week. Bengals fans who sat through the mess that was the 90s shouldn’t be surprised to read that statistic, but it is still off-putting to see such an abysmal record over such a long period of time. If anything, players should be more well rested and ready to go after a week off.

In Lewis’ defense, the Bengals have actually picked things up after the bye week in recent years. They’re still not perfect, but since the team rebuilt in 2011 and kicked off the Dalton-Green era, they have established a winning record of 3-2 after the bye week. Still, that’s 5-7-1 under Marvin Lewis’ tenure and 7-19-1 for the franchise all-time.

The Bengals’ first ever bye week took place in Week 4 of the 1990 season. The Bengals were coming off of a huge 41-7 victory over the New England Patriots and off to a hot 3-0 start to the season. Just two years after being crowned AFC Champions and falling short in Super Bowl XXIII, the Bengals were coming off a disappointing 8-8 season in 1989 and things were looking up after the hot start.

In Week 5, they were demolished by a score of 31-16 on the road against the Seattle Seahawks, beginning a poor mid-season stretch where they lost seven of their next 11 games. Luckily, they pulled things together at the end of the season to win a weak AFC Central division crown. They went on to defeat the Houston Oilers 41-14 in the wild card round of the playoffs. Unfortunately, they were unable to defeat the Los Angeles Raiders the following week, but the win over the Oilers remains the Bengals’ most recent playoff win - 26 years later.

Despite two opportunities to do so in the 1993 season, the Bengals didn’t win their first post-bye game until the 1995 season, when they defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers by a score of 27-9 after a Week 7 bye. The Bengals ended up 7-9 that season, but it was the first time the Bengals had broken five wins, and only the second time they had broken three wins, since the aforementioned 1990 playoff season. It would still be another 10 years before the Bengals returned to the playoffs, but the 1995 season was enough to let Bengals fans dream, even if only for a little while.

The only other post-bye win that the Bengals saw before Lewis came to town took place in 1998, when the Bengals defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers by a score of 25-20 after a Week 5 bye. That said, it didn’t mean much as the Bengals lost their next nine games and finished the season with an awful 3-13 record.

When the Dalton-Green era arrived in 2011, the Bengals started off their post-bye fortunes rather well. Despite a poor 1-2 start to the season, the Bengals rattled off three straight wins before the Week 7 bye, after which the Bengals continued to win for a couple of weeks before losing five of their last eight games. Still, the winning that took place in the first half of the season carried them to a playoff berth that kicked off a still unbroken streak of making the playoffs every year.

Since then, the Bengals have alternated wins after the bye week every year. They lost to the Broncos in 2012, beat the Chargers in 2013, lost to the Patriots in 2014, and beat the Steelers in 2015. Hopefully the Bengals can break that trend and get their second consecutive win after the bye when they play the New York Giants in Week 10. A win would bring the team’s record to 4-4-1 and give them a chance to push for the playoffs with a relatively weak schedule coming during the second half of the season.