Are you ready for some... fun? (I bet you thought I was going to say football) Well, how about a little fun with football?
This year marks the beginning of a 17-game season for the NFL, and we are bound to see lots of team and individual records fall with an extra game on the schedule.
Just how many Cincinnati Bengals do you think might be etching their names into the record books in 2021? Let’s take a look and see just what marks might be in jeopardy.
Let’s start with the kicking game. In 1988, Jim Breech set the record for points after touchdown with 56. So let’s see. Joe Mixon rushes for 15 touchdowns and Joe Burrow passes for 42.
Or how about field goals in a season. Mike Nugent set that mark in 2011 with 33. Bengals’ rookie kicker Evan McPherson has made just about everything he has attempted so far.
Maybe it will be most points in a season. Nugent, in addition to his 33 field goals, converted 34 points after touchdown for a total of 132 points. That would come down to an average of just under eight points per game this year.
Remember those 15 touchdowns I mentioned that Joe Mixon might rush for? That would tie the record for rushing touchdowns set by Ickey Woods in 1988.
And, in 2009, Cedric Benson set the record for most 100-yard games in a season with six. If the offensive line continues to block the way they have through the preseason, is that mark in danger?
Or what about the record for the most rushing yards in a season, set by Rudi Johnson in 2005 with 1,458 yards. Mixon would have to average just under 86 yards per game to get that one.
And then there’s the other Joe. Joe Burrow had completed 264 of 404 passes for 2,688 yards last year when he went down with an injury after 10 starts. Over the course of a 17-game season, that projects out to 448 completions in 686 attempts for 4,569 yards.
Carson Palmer (2010) and Andy Dalton (2013) share the record for most passing attempts in a season with 586. Palmer owns the mark for most completions in a season with 373 in 2007.
Touchdown passes is another story. When Burrow got injured last year, he had thrown for 13 touchdowns. That projects out to only 22 through a 17-game season. But, with one of the better receiving corps in the NFL at his disposal, Burrow should easily surpass that number this year. Dalton owns the record for touchdown passes in a season with 33.
Dalton also owns the mark for total passing yards in a season with 4,293 yards through the air in 2013. Enough said.
Esiason (1987), Palmer (2007), Dalton (2013) and Burrow (2020) share the record for 300-yard games in a season with five. Any takers on whether or not this one is going to fall?
One record that may not be going anywhere is the one for most 100-yard games receiving in a season, set by A.J. Green in 2013 with six. With the talent Cincinnati will put on the field this year (Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase), it’s unlikely that any one receiver will get near this number.
Most of the records that are in danger of falling this year are on the offensive side of the ball. And for good reason. The chances of the defense breaking any records on that side of the ball are pretty slim, at best.
Of course, there is always a chance that the defense could break the record for safeties in a year, which stands at one. Reggie Williams and Alfred Williams both accomplished that. That’s the same number of kickoff returns for touchdowns in a season, which was last matched by Brandon Wilson in 2019.
The record for interception returns for a touchdown is shared by Lemar Parrish (1972), Tommy Casanova (1976), Scott Perry (1978), Ray Griffin (1980) and Ken Riley (1983) at two. The way the secondary has looked so far this preseason, you never know.
Two marks that are not likely to fall are Deltha O’Neal’s 10 interceptions in a season (2005) and Coy Bacon’s 22 sacks in 1976. Unless Jessie Bates III and Sam Hubbard become possessed, we’ll accept these records for what they are.
With the exception of those two, there are a lot of records out there for the taking. One bet I would be willing to make though. If the 2021 Bengals do manage to re-write the record book in a majority of these areas, look for the orange and black in the playoffs.