The 2003Cincinnati Bengals season was the team's 36th year in professional football and its 34th with the National Football League. The Bengals are now under first year Head Coach Marvin Lewis, who replaced Dick LeBeau who was fired following the 2002 season after the worst season in Bengals history. The Bengals had the first pick overall in the 2003 NFL Draft and drafted Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer with the first pick. After a slow start, the Bengals got hot winning at midseason, winning four straight games to stand at 7-5, entering a key Week 14 match up with the Baltimore Ravens with a chance to win the division. However in the key showdown for first place the Bengals showed they were not quite ready for primetime as they were beaten 31-13. The Bengals would rebound to win their next game against the San Francisco 49ers, but at 8-6 the Bengals could not get that ninth win, losing their last two games to spoil an effort to earn their first winning season in 13 years, finishing at 8-8.