How the Bengals went from the cusp of Super Bowl glory to possibly getting their season ruined by the Jets

The Bengals were at midfield and one touchdown away from winning the first Super Bowl in franchise history. Seven months later, the Jets can essentially end the Bengals’ season in September.

One of last season’s best stories has become a cliché. The long-suffering franchise that unexpectedly won the AFC now appears to be the latest victim of a Super Bowl hangover.

A step back was not unexpected for Cincinnati. Even with Joe Burrow, 25, entering his prime, the Bengals were going to struggle to again emerge from a loaded conference that features the Bills and the Chiefs. But it appeared as if the Bengals at least would have the chance to defend their AFC title in the playoffs.

Then Week 1 ended with a home loss in overtime to the Mitch Trubisky-led Steelers. Week 2 ended with another last-second loss to the Cooper Rush-led Cowboys. The Bengals became the first team in the Super Bowl era to lose their first two games of the season after being favored by at least a touchdown in each game.

In losing to the Steelers and the Cowboys to start the season, Joe Burrow and the Bengals have already made a return to the Super Bowl a bit of a longshot.AP

The Bengals now will attempt to become the first team since 2018 to make the playoffs after losing their first two games, a feat that only 12 of 125 teams have accomplished since…

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