The Bengals don’t typically dominate all-time head-to-head matchups against other NFL teams. In fact, the Bengals only have winning records against 13 of the 31 other teams in the NFL. But, this week the Bengals are going up against the Philadelphia Eagles, who they usually beat decisively. In fact, their winning percentage against the Eagles (70.8%) is the second most for the Bengals against any opponent, behind only the Detroit Lions (72.7%).
There has only been one decade where the Bengals have managed to lose any games against the Eagles, and I bet you can guess which one that is. From 1991-2000, the Bengals put together a futile streak against the Eagles, winning only a single game and dropping three. Given how bad the Bengals were during that time period, it’s actually a surprise they managed to win one matchup.
The only other time in the history of head-to-head matchups between these teams that the Bengals have failed to win came in a Week 11 game in 2008 where the Bengals and Eagles only managed to put up 13 points each, tying at the end of overtime. (In)famously, Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb told reporters after the game that he didn’t even know tying was possible in the NFL.
It isn’t as crazy as it seems today since it was only the 17th tie in NFL history and the second time a tie had happened during McNabb’s NFL career. Since the new overtime rule was implemented in 2012, ties have become much more common. But, in 2008 it was less surprising that a player wasn’t aware that ties were possible.
Aside from that game, the Bengals have outscored the Eagles 72-23 during the Marvin Lewis era, which highlights just how good the Bengals have been against the Eagles historically. In fact, of the Bengals’ eight all-time wins over the Eagles, only three have been even remotely close. The other five were wins that combined for a total score of 177-50. All of the Bengals’ losses throughout history between these teams have come by a deficit of a touchdown or less.
The most recent game between the Bengals and Eagles was another one of those massive blowouts for the Bengals. The game took place in Philadelphia, but that didn’t stop Andy Dalton from finding A.J. Green in the endzone, as well as Dalton and BenJarvus Green-Ellis running it in themselves. Don’t forget about the fumble recovery for a touchdown that Wallace Gilberry recorded late in the third quarter to give the Bengals an 11-point lead.
Although neither quarterback finished with a particularly great quarterback rating, Dalton (74.2) performed much better than Nick Foles (62.7). The Eagles simply had no answers for the Bengals on either side of the ball and it resulted in a massive 34-14 blowout in the Bengals’ favor, bouncing back from a Week 14 loss to the Cowboys and putting together the makings of a successful push for the AFC’s No. 6 seed in the playoffs.
You have to go all the way back to December 24, 2000 to find the last time the Bengals lost to the Eagles. It was a rough time for the Bengals and their fans anyway. Still, that game, which resulted in a 16-7 win for McNabb’s Eagles, showed just how bad things were for the Bengals at the time.
Don’t forget, this was the year when Bruce Coslet resigned in disgust after the team lost their first three games, including a 37-0 shutout against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 4 that may have been the catalyst. Defensive coordinator and assistant head coach Dick Lebeau took over the head coaching job at that point. Things did get slightly better in the second half of the season for the Bengals, but they still only managed to win four games and didn’t ever look like they were trying to win a fifth in their Week 17 matchup with the Eagles.
There wasn’t any point during that game where it felt like the Bengals had a legitimate shot. The Bengals did score one touchdown in the game, a 17 yard pass from Scott Mitchell to Peter Warrick. It was only Mitchell’s third touchdown pass of the season, and the Bengals’ sixth.
Today, the Bengals’ 2016 season is all but finished, currently sitting two and a half games out of first place in the AFC North and miles behind in the Wild Card race with five games left to play. Still, the Bengals will be hoping to continue their historical dominance this week against the Eagles. The game will take place in Cincinnati, where the Eagles have never beaten the Bengals. The Eagles are one of three teams that have never won in Cincinnati. (The others are the Giants (Bengals lead 6-0 at home) and Panthers (Bengals lead 1-0-1 at home).
Will the Bengals secure their fourth win of the season in Week 13 at home? We’ll find out on Sunday.