The NFL-AFL merger took place before the season, and the Bengals made their first NFL campaign a memorable one. After winning their first ever game as a member of the NFL, which happened to be their inaugural game in the brand new Riverfront Stadium, they would lose six games in a row. But they would win out the rest of the way, as they rallied to finish 8–6 and win the new AFC Central Division. In their first playoff game, they lost, 17–0, to eventual Super Bowl-champion Baltimore. QB Greg Cook was forced to the Injured Reserve list in training camp with a shoulder injury that would end his career, and Virgil Carter took over as the starter.
The Bengals record for most points in a game by the special teams is 31 in a 43–14 victory at Buffalo on Nov. 8, 1970. CB Lemar Parrish scored two special teams touchdowns, one on a 95-yard kickoff return and another on an 83-yard return of a blocked field goal attempt. Parrish is the only Bengals player ever to score two touchdowns in a game on returns and/or recoveries – and he did it three times. K Horst Muhlmann added 15 points on five field goals, and four PATs by Muhlmann completed the special teams onslaught. The offense scored only one TD, a one-yard run by RB Jess Phillips. The defense scored a TD on an eight-yard fumble return by DE Royce Berry.