How did the Bengals get to Super Bowl 2022? Key players, draft picks, wins, NFL playoff results and more

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The historic season continues for the Cincinnati Bengals. After defeating Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in an 27-24 overtime thriller in the AFC Championship Game, Joe Burrow’s squad is headed to their first Super Bowl appearance in over 30 years. They’ll take on Matthew Stafford and the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium in Super Bowl LVI today, Sunday, February 13 on NBC and Peacock. The Bengals have never won a Super Bowl, and now are just one win away from the biggest milestone in franchise history.

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The Bengals entered the postseason as the No. 4 seed after winning the AFC North with a 10-7 record, just one season after finishing last in the division at 4-11-1. On Super Wild Card Weekend, they defeated the Las Vegas Raiders 26-19, snapping a 31-year playoff losing streak – the longest drought without a win in the postseason in the NFL. Then they kept rolling with a win over the No. 1 seed Tennessee Titans in the Divisional round to earn a spot in the AFC Championship for the first time since 1988. From there, the Bengals faced their biggest challenge yet: taking on Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce on a Kansas City squad looking to make its third consecutive Super Bowl appearance. After falling behind 21-3 in the second quarter, the Bengals scored 18 unanswered points to tie the game at 21 in the third. They took the lead on a 52-yard Evan McPherson field goal, but the Chiefs tied it with a field goal of their own in the final seconds to send the game to overtime.

RELATED: Bengals are headed to the Super Bowl after 27-24 overtime upset of Chiefs

The Chiefs went to overtime in the Divisional Round as well. Facing the Bills, the Chiefs scored a touchdown on the opening drive, meaning the Bills didn’t get a chance to match. Against Cincinnati, Kansas City won the coin toss and had the chance for another opening-drive winner, but Mahomes was intercepted by Von Bell and it was McPherson’s time to shine again, this time on a 31-yard game-winner to send his team to the Super Bowl for the first time since the 1988 season.

RELATED: The Bengals’ Super Bowl history: Every appearance and win

After making the playoffs in five straight seasons between 2011-2015, the Bengals endured five seasons without a playoff berth. Throughout that time span, Cincinnati posted a record of 25-53. Just three seasons ago, in Zac Taylor’s first year as head coach, the Bengals posted a league-worst 2-14 mark. But that abysmal record secured the first pick for Cincinnati in the 2020 NFL Draft and the chance to select one of the top quarterback prospects in recent memory in LSU’s Joe Burrow.

The Bengals’ hopes for success the following season were dashed when Burrow suffered a season-ending knee injury in November and Cincinnati finished with just four wins. In the 2021 NFL Draft, the Bengals selected Burrow’s LSU teammate Ja’Marr Chase with the fifth overall pick. Together, Burrow and Chase led the Bengals to the AFC North title crown this season as Cincinnati finished the regular season with a 10-7 record.

In his last two starts of the regular season, Burrow passed for a combined 971 yards to give him the second-highest two-game passing total in NFL history, and set single-season-season franchise records for pass yards (4,611) and pass TD (34). In Week 18, Chase broke the Bengals’ single-season receiving record held by Chad Johnson with 1,440 yards. Backed by Burrow under center and Chase on the outside, the Bengals are now set for their first Super Bowl appearance since 1988. 

RELATED: Joe Burrow: We’ve been a second half team all year

NFL Wild Card round results

  • Defeated the No. 5 Las Vegas Raiders, 26-19

NFL Divisional round results

  • Defeated the No. 1 Tennessee Titans, 19-16

AFC Championship Game results

  • Defeated the No. 2 Kansas City Chiefs, 27-24 (OT)

2021 NFL Draft picks

  • Round 1: No. 5 – Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
  • Round 2, No. 46 – Jackson Carman, OT, Clemson
  • Round 3, No. 69 overall – Joseph Ossai, DE, Texas
  • Round 4, No. 111 overall – Cameron Sample, DE, Tulane
  • Round 4, No. 122 overall – Tyler Shelvin, DT, LSU
  • Round 4, No. 139 overall – D’Ante Smith, OT, East Carolina
  • Round 5, No. 149 overall – Evan McPherson, K, Florida
  • Round 6, No. 190 overall – Trey Hill, C, Georgia
  • Round 6, No. 202 overall – Chris Evans, RB, Michigan
  • Round 7, No. 235 overall – Wyatt Hubert, DE, Kansas State

RELATED: Bengals draft picks 2021: All of Cincinnati’s selections, NFL draft results, team order

Bengals key personnel: Coaches and players

  • Head coach: Zac Taylor
  • Quarterback: Joe Burrow
  • Wide receiver: Ja’Marr Chase
  • Running back: Joe Mixon
  • Cornerback: Eli Apple
  • Linebacker: Logan Wilson

Bengals regular season results

  • Overall record: 10-7
  • Key wins/biggest win of the season: 34-31 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 17

Bengals recent playoff history

  • Had not advanced to the postseason since losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Wild Card round in January 2016. Before defeating the Raiders on Super Wild Card Weekend, the Bengals had eight straight playoff losses dating back 31 years. Before this season, the Bengals had not made it to the Super Bowl since 1988, and the franchise has never won a Super Bowl.

Previewing the Bengals vs. Rams in Super Bowl LVI

The Bengals will now face Matthew Stafford and the Rams in Super Bowl LVI on the Rams’ home turf at SoFi Stadium – a matchup of the no. 4 seeds from both sides of the league. The Rams made it to the Super Bowl in the 2018 season, losing to the Patriots, but that was with Jared Goff under center. But it’s Stafford’s team now, and in his 13th season the 33-year-old is headed to his first Super Bowl. For the Bengals, it’s second-year QB Joe Burrow and a young squad leading the way. Bengals head coach Zac Taylor was an assistant coach on McVay’s staff in Los Angeles before getting the top job in Cincinnati, and now he’ll face his former boss in the biggest game of his career.

RELATED: PFT’s 2021 NFL offensive rookie of the year: Ja’Marr Chase

Bengals Record vs. playoff teams in regular season: 4-2

Wins:

  • 24-10 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 3
  • 32-13 vs. Las Vegas Raiders in Week 11
  • 41-10 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 12
  • 34-31 vs. Kansas City Chiefs in Week 17

Losses:

  • 25-22 (OT) vs. Green Bay Packers in Week 5
  • 26-23 (OT) vs. San Francisco 49ers in Week 14

How can I watch and live stream Super Bowl 2022?

  • When: Sunday, February 13, 2022
  • Where: SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, California
  • TV Channel: NBC
  • Live streamPeacock, NBC Sports app, NBCSports.com
  • Follow along with ProFootballTalk and NBC Sports for NFL news, updates, scores, injuries and more

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