The Bengals won the regular season finale 31-14 over the Cleveland Browns at Paycor Stadium on Sunday. The Bengals were eliminated from postseason contention entering Week 18, so the win wasn't significant.
The Bengals finished 9-8, making the AFC North the first division since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger to have every club win a season.
Several divisions have nearly reached.500. The Washington Commanders could have done it last season for the NFC East, but they tied one game and dropped three of their last four to finish 8-8-1.
The Super Bowl era's first division with all teams winning is this year's AFC North, though it's been done previously. The 1935 NFL West was the last division to win, but professional football was drastically different. The Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, and Chicago Cardinals were in the division, led by the champion Detroit Lions.
After winning the AFC North and going 13-4, the Baltimore Ravens earned the top AFC playoff seed. Pittsburgh's regular season finale win over the Ravens on Saturday lifted them to 10-7. Mike Tomlin has 17 consecutive wins as Steelers coach.
Despite losing Deshaun Watson to a season-ending shoulder injury, Cleveland went 11-6 and made the playoffs. Now led by experienced quarterback Joe Flacco, the Browns rested most starters Sunday. They face the Houston Texans in the wild-card round next weekend.
That let Bengals quarterback Jake Browning throw three touchdowns Sunday. Joe Mixon ran for a season-high 111 yards and a score in the Bengals' 17-point triumph after a 24-0 halftime lead. Browning made 4-3 starts this season after replacing Joe Burrow, who was injured. In the fourth quarter, A.J. McCarron replaced him.
The division's win was crucial even though Browning and the Bengals won't make the playoffs. It must count.
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