When the Bengals return to the field in 2016, they will be the AFC's reigning scoring defense champion for the second time in three years after surrendering 279 points this past season. They also led the AFC in 2013 with a yield of 305 points.
Cincinnati missed by two points being the NFL leader in 2015. Seattle allowed 277 points. The Bengals were leading the league by a slim margin over the Seahawks heading into the final week and gave up 16 points to Baltimore in the finale while Seattle gave up six to normally high-scoring Arizona in its final game.
The Chiefs with 287 and the Broncos with 296 were the only other teams in the league allowing fewer than 300 points during the season.
If a team surrenders 304 points over 16 games -- an average per-game yield of 19 -- it's considered a good year. The Bengals gave up 17.4 points per game in 2015, fifth-lowest in team annals and the best in a 16-game season.
The second-place scoring defense is a first for the franchise, and the 279 points is a team record. The Bengals have never led the league. Their best previous finish was fifth twice, in 1972 (16.4 average) and again in 2013 (19.1). The previous low was 284 points in 1978.
Thanks to a scoring offense that ranked sixth in team history, the Bengals in 2015 outscored opponents 419-279, an average margin of 8.75 per game. That factors out to the second-best mark in franchise history behind only the mark of 8.93 set by the 1976 squad that outscored opponents 335-210 over a 14-game slate.