24 years and counting: A look at the Bengals playoff drought

INDIANAPOLIS — Bengals playoff losses, especially the past couple seasons, have been extremely painful but Sunday’s 26-10 loss to the Colts on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium broke new ground that no team wants to be a part of.

Cincinnati is now the first team in NFL history to go one and out in the postseason four straight years. Of the six previous teams to do go one and out three straight years in the Super Bowl era, the Bengals and the 1988 San Francisco 49ers were the only ones to make it to the playoffs for the fourth year. The Niners though ended up winning Super Bowl XXIII … over the Bengals.

Before the Super Bowl era, two other teams did it, the 1961-63 Giants and 1951-53 Browns, who were coached by Paul Brown. The ’54 Browns ended up winning the NFL Championship over the Lions.

The Bengals own the longest current postseason win drought at 24 years. By virtue of losing the Colts, they also move into the top five longest droughts in NFL history. They still have a long way to catch the Chicago/St. Louis/Arizona Cardinals, who went 50 seasons before beating Dallas in an NFC Wild Card game in 1998. The Steelers went 37 seasons before winning their first playoff game in 1972. The Saints (1967-99) and Lions (1958-90) are tied for third at 33 and the Redskins are fourth at 28 (1944-71).

For Marvin Lewis, he joins a club that no head coach wants to be a part of. He joins the Giants Steve Owen as the only coaches to lose six straight playoff games with one team (1939-50). However, Owen was 2-2 in the postseason before losing the next six.

Lewis and Owen also join Marty Schottenheimer and Jim Mora for most consecutive playoff loses at any point. Lewis and Mora are the only coaches to begin their career with six straight playoff losses. However, Mora never got to a seventh playoff game.

When he beat Denver on Dec. 23, Lewis became the 42nd head coach in NFL history to reach 100 victories. At 198 games coached, he has the second-longest tenure without a postseaon win. Mora has the record at 237.

When asked about his emotions of having six postseason losses, Lewis said: "It’s disappointing but I don’t know any other way. Whenever the opportunity comes to build back up and get working and fight our way back through it."

Since next season’s playoffs won’t begin until Jan. 9, 2016, the Bengals’ postseason win drought will be at least 9,135 days. Hopefully the next playoff game won’t be on the road as they are 0-7 away from Cincinnati and 0-2 at neutral sites.

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