The Cincinnati Bengals no longer have a playoff drought.
After defeating the Las Vegas Raiders in Wild Card Weekend, Cincinnati ended a 31-year odyssey for postseason success. It also means the Bengals now have a playoff win more recently than anyone in their own division.
While it may not sound like much, playing in a division with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens means it’s normally about always going to be a tall task to win the division. Even the Cleveland Browns have shown the potential to make a run with their current group when healthy, as evidenced by their 48-37 win over the Steelers in last year’s NFL playoffs.
Speaking of, the AFC North team with the longest playoff win drought no longer belongs to Cincinnati or Cleveland.
Instead, it’s the Steelers who have the longest drought, as they’ve not won in the postseason since the 2016 season when they took down the Adam Gase-led Miami Dolphins and Alex Smith-led Kansas City Chiefs.
The Steelers technically had a chance to end that Sunday night at Kansas City, but it was clear they were no match for Patrick Mahomes’ Chiefs, so the drought will continue for at least another year.
And there’s a very real chance this drought extends for the foreseeable future, as Pittsburgh is in the midst of what figures to be a challenging rebuild while searching for a new QB as Ben Roethlisberger retires.
On the other hand, the Bengals, Browns and Ravens all figure to be better teams for at least a few years, if not longer. It’s going to be tough sledding just to finish ahead of the Bengals and Ravens, while the Browns have also shown more promise when they’re healthy, and a healthy Baker Mayfield is very likely to be better than whoever Pittsburgh has at QB next season.
Who would have thought we’d ever be talking about a day when Pittsburgh, not Cincinnati or Cleveland, had the division’s longest playoff win drought.
That’s exactly what we’ve been gifted with.
BENGALS PICK-SIX.— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) November 28, 2021
Cincy's ALL OVER Pittsburgh heading into the half.pic.twitter.com/2jjQD9kcjx