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 -- their inaugural game in the brand new Riverfront Stadium -- they would lose six games in a row. After the 1-6 start, however, the Bengals would win the rest of their games, rallying to a 8-6 finish and champions of the newly-formed AFC Central division. In their first playoff game, they lost, 17–0, to eventual Super Bowl-champion Baltimore. Cincinnati quarterbackGreg Cook was forced to the Injured Reserve list in training camp with a shoulder injury that would ultimately end his career; Virgil Carter took over as the starter.
In just their third season, the 1970 Bengals set a league mark by being the first NFL expansion team to qualify for the playoffs within their first three seasons of existence.
The Bengals set a league record for most points in a game scored by the special teams, with 31 in a 43–14 victory at Buffalo on Nov. 8, 1970. CornerbackLemar 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. KickerHorst Muhlmann added 15 points on five field goals, and four extra points by Muhlmann completed the special teams onslaught. The offense scored only one touchdown, a one-yard run by running backJess Phillips. The defense scored a touchdown on an eight-yard fumble return by defensive endRoyce Berry.