The defense was playoff-worthy for most of the season. Andy Dalton and the offense fell apart in the biggest moments. And the Bengals ended what appeared to be a breakthrough season with a familiar heartbreak.
Still no playoff victory in 22 years, the seventh-longest streak in NFL history.
Dalton and the offense imploded again during a 19-13 loss in Houston on Saturday, the second straight year that they did little or nothing in a first-round game against the Texans.
Dalton has led the Bengals to back-to-back playoff appearances, which is no small feat. But he's been a disappointment in the postseason, throwing for only 384 yards with no touchdowns and four interceptions.
Cincinnati has to decide what to do with its offense in the offseason.
Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL