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What a Ride: Reflecting on the Bengals' Run to Super Bowl LVI

Cincinnati's historic run could be the start of something special.

CINCINNATI — What a ride. 

It's taken me a few days to wrap my head around the Bengals' season. 

From watching Joe Burrow struggle at the start of training camp to Ja'Marr Chase's preseason drop issues, no one could've imagined the season the Bengals were about to have. 

They had their ups, they had their downs, but they always responded to adversity. They always had an answer. 

That's what makes Super Bowl LVI so hard to swallow. They were so close from a World Championship. It would've arguably been the most improbable run in Super Bowl history. 

Those championship hopes were gone in an instant. 

And while we'll forever wonder why Joe Mixon was on the bench for the final drive or why the official threw a flag on Logan Wilson after he put the clamps on Cooper Kupp, the outcome isn't changing. 

That's the beauty of sports. 

But this season was anything and everything anyone could've realistically hoped for. 

Burrow bounced back from a devastating knee injury and was one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Chase quickly established himself as the leagues best rookie and a top wide receiver at just 21-years-old. 

A defense that couldn't stop a nose bleed over the past few seasons was one of the NFL's biggest surprises. 

Mix that together with a coaching staff that had its back against the wall and you get a team that was built to make a run in January. And that's exactly what they did. 

The 2021 Bengals showed 90's kids what it was like to make a playoff run and reminded generations past what it was like to be a fan in the 80's. 

The longest season in Bengals' history was such a roller coaster. It was filled with ups and downs. It wasn't boring like past seasons. 

Instead, it was a year filled with excitement. From our meet ups at local bars and restaurants to a man named "Jim" becoming the most famous football fan on the planet, I hope the 2021 season was as much fun for you as it was for me. 

And the best part? This should be the beginning. 

The Bengals have a young nucleus. From Burrow and Chase to Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd and Joe Mixon. Even Zac Taylor is just 38-years-old. 

Their defense is filled with players in their prime. 

If the Bengals aggressively address their weaknesses over the next few months, then they should be a legitimate Super Bowl contender again next season. 

Thank you for following along this year. I have the best job in the world. From AllBengals.com to Cincinnati Bengals Talk on YouTube and the Locked on Bengals podcast, my goal has always been to bring you the best Bengals coverage possible. 

I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Plenty of great offseason coverage is coming your way, but I wanted to put a bow on the 2021-22 Bengals. 

Thank you for following along and buckle up because the next few years should be a lot of fun for everyone. 

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