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What happened the last time the Bengals started 5-4?

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It’s bye week for the 5-4 Cincinnati Bengals, which means taking a step back and looking at things from a broader scope than usual.

Meaning, taking a deep dive on 2022 free agents the Bengals should already be looking at. And formulating a seven-round mock draft.

But it’s also worth using the break to look to the past, where we’ll find the last time the team started 5-4 pretty recently.

This actually happened in 2018, the last goodbye tour for Marvin Lewis. There, Cincinnati won four of its first five, then dropped two in a row to Pittsburgh and Kansas City. Still, hitting the Week 9 bye at 5-3 wasn’t the worst start.

Out of the bye…the Bengals dropped five in a row and seven of eight to finish off the Lewis era. Injuries didn’t help, as Andy Dalton could only make it into 11 games, meaning Jeff Driskel saw action in nine. A.J. Green played in just nine games.

Besides injuries, the Bengals had to fire defensive coordinator Teryl Austin after a Week 10, 51-14 loss to New Orleans that helped the team become the first in the Super Bowl era to give up 500-plus yards in three consecutive games.

This year? The Bengals have had one of the better streaks of injury luck of any team so far and defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo has turned in solid performances before two consecutive letdowns. Provided the team uses the bye week well, it can avoid a repeat of its last 5-4 start.

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Cincinnati Bengals 7-round 2022 NFL mock draft at bye week