CINCINNATI -- The drought is over.
The Cincinnati Bengals beat the New York Jets 22-6 on Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium for their first win of the season. Coming into Sunday's game, Cincinnati was the lone remaining winless team this season. With four games remaining after this weekend, the Bengals were at risk of joining the 2008 Detroit Lions and 2017 Cleveland Browns as the only teams to go 0-16 in NFL history.
But after a strong performance against the Jets, Cincinnati will avoid those footnotes. Sunday's win was also the first victory for rookie coach Zac Taylor.
Before Sunday, the Bengals were mired in their worst start to a season in franchise history. Cincinnati lost the first 11 games of the season, surpassing the 10-game losing streak at the start of the 1993 season. The Bengals also dropped 13 consecutive games dating back to last season, which was also a team record.
Against the Jets, Cincinnati's offense was bolstered by the return of veteran quarterback Andy Dalton, who was reinserted into the starting lineup after spending three games on the bench. One day after the Bengals' 16-10 loss to the Steelers in Week 12, Taylor said he was going back to Dalton because he felt the ninth-year player out of TCU gave the Bengals the best chance to win.
Dalton delivered in a performance that yielded multiple personal records. He was 22-of-37 passing for 243 yards and one touchdown. His 17-yard scoring pass to Tyler Boyd in the first quarter was the 196th of his career and broke Ken Anderson's record for most career passing touchdowns by a Bengal. Dalton also broke Anderson's mark for most career completions in franchise history.
The loss was historically significant for the Jets (5-7), who had their three-game winning streak snapped. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Jets are the first team in NFL history with multiple losses in one season to teams who entered the matchup 0-7 or worse -- the Jets lost to the Dolphins in Week 9, giving Miami their first win of the season.
New York's offense struggled against a Cincinnati defense that ranked near the bottom of the league in several statistical categories, including total defense.
Of course, some of the 39,408 in attendance might want Cincinnati to keep the winning to a minimum. The Bengals entered Week 13 with a 63.8% chance to finish the year with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 draft, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Miami, the team with the second-best odds at 16%, beat the Eagles on Sunday to improve to 3-9.