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Bengals News (2/15): Favorable power rankings

The Bengals are looked at as one of the best teams heading into 2022 after shocking the world this past season.

Syndication: The Enquirer Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

Bengaldom Greets Their Returning Bengals With A Valentine
Then Who-Dey nation sent another love letter to the team that has captivated them maybe even more than the old days. When the bus drivers made the turn into the players' gate, a crowd of about 300 fans, complete with a sound system, signs and a 20-foot waving Bengals flag in 27-degree weather, erupted.

Super Bowl Quote Board: Another Look At What The Bengals Said
Cornerback Mike Hilton: "This is just a steppingstone for us. Like I said, nobody expected us to be in this position and we knew with the guys and coaches that we have in the locker room that we can compete for years to come. It hurts but it's going to stick in our minds and it's going to bring us back stronger for next year."

Super Quick Hits: Least Penalized Bengals Hit With Flags; Biggest Game Decided By Short Yardage
The Bengals ended the longest season in NFL history as one of the last two standing. The honor belonged to superstar defensive tackle Aaron Donald and his Rams after he threw Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow to the SoFi Stadium grass and forced a desperate incompletion with 39 seconds left on fourth-and-one with a tying field goal just maybe another first down away.

Early NFL Power Rankings for 2022 - 1-32 poll, and where Super Bowl teams Rams and Bengals land
Once again, the Bengals ranked near the bottom of the league in pass block win rate. Cincinnati was 30th in 2021, a lack of quality that became apparent when the Bengals entered the postseason and Burrow was most notably sacked nine times in the divisional win over Tennessee. Cincinnati must figure out what to do at right guard and right tackle. Will Jackson Carman finally secure the starting spot that slipped out of his grasp at the beginning of the 2021 season? Will Cincinnati look to re-sign veteran Riley Reiff after a one-year deal? Whatever the answers are, the Bengals need to find the right ones. -- Ben Baby

Report: Bengals' Al Golden Hired as Notre Dame DC Under Marcus Freeman
Notre Dame is expected to hire Cincinnati Bengals linebackers coach Al Golden for the position, according to Pete Sampson of The Athletic, who noted, "Golden had been the top target for weeks, but the NFL playoffs complicated Notre Dame's pursuit." Minnesota defensive coordinator Joe Rossi and Boston College defensive coordinator Tem Lukabu were also candidates, per Sampson.

NFL power rankings: Super Bowl champion Rams No. 1, Bengals at 3
The Bengals’ joyful playoff run put them right in the mix at the top of the AFC. Our voters appear to have focused more on the entire body of work this season than just the playoffs, but to be considered with the top tier is the mark of a season more successful than fans should have reasonably hoped for when it began.

Super Bowl 2022: Bengals had golden chance to complete a go-ahead TD to Ja'Marr Chase on final play
Sometimes the difference between winning or losing a Super Bowl comes down to a split second. That appears to be the case for the Cincinnati Bengals, who fell just short of winning the franchise's first title after losing to the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LVI 23-20. L.A. was able to march back after trailing by four points in the fourth quarter to score what would prove to be the game-winning touchdown inside the final two minutes of the game.

NFL Power Rankings: Rams rule after Super Bowl LVI; how do the other 31 teams shake out?
The fairy tale had a sour ending, but Bengals fans will look back fondly on an underdog team that rose from the ashes to nearly win a Super Bowl. The offseason directive is more clear here than anywhere else in the league: Protect the quarterback. Joe Burrow was sacked 19 times in the playoffs, easily setting an ignominious NFL record. Solutions need to be found at guard and tackle -- don't be surprised when Cincy ends up using its first-round pick and much of its available cap space on the big guys in front of Joey Franchise.

Around the league

Rams coach Sean McVay 'enjoying this moment,' not focused on coaching future: 'We'll see'
That's not the nickname Los Angeles Rams fans had in mind as royal blue and gold confetti fell in SoFi Stadium on Sunday night in the aftermath of Super Bowl LVI. However, the newly crowned championship coach is offering no more of a commitment to 2022 than star defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who dodged questions about a return for next year as well.

Three-round 2022 NFL mock draft 1.0: Five trades, five QBs selected in Round 1
The 2022 National Football League Player Selection Meeting, otherwise known as the NFL draft, is less than three months away. It feels like just last week that five quarterbacks were selected in the top half of the first round of the 2021 draft, with Trevor Lawrence going first overall to the Jaguars.

Larry Fitzgerald says Cooper Kupp's postseason trumps '08 run: 'I got memories, he's got hardware'
Similarities abound between Larry Fitzgerald's 2008 playoff run and the one that Cooper Kupp just completed. Without the benefit of a playoff bye, both notched four postseason games ending with a Super Bowl appearance. Both were January-dominant and lit up the biggest stage of all with a ring at stake.

Tom Brady hopeful Rob Gronkowski continues to play despite QB's retirement: 'He can certainly do it'
It's anyone's guess whether Rob Gronkowski will suit up for 2022 or retire for the second time, but his former quarterback still wants to see him play, and has no doubt he can still pull it off despite 11 seasons worth of mileage on his body's odometer.

Cardinals QB Kyler Murray releases statement: 'All of this nonsense is not what I'm about'
Amid Instagram scrubs and reports of perceived immaturity and a lack of leadership, Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray returned to social media Monday afternoon and released a statement professing his love for the game, his focus on improvement and tabbing the recent histrionics as "nonsense."