Chris Crocker recalled the noise. Andy Dalton remembered the importance of every snap. Vontaze Burfict couldn’t forget the speed.

Different reasons stick out about the first playoff experiences, but one constant stood unanimous: Playoff football felt different.

The last two years the Bengals learned playoff lessons the hard way, however, this year they will line up Sunday as the team owning far more playoff experience than their opponent.

“I think it helps having a lot of the same guys back from the teams the last couple of years, guys that understand that we’ve had an opportunity that we haven’t taken advantage of,” quarterback Andy Dalton said. “I think all that is going to help us going in this year. The staff, the players being the same, we have that extra year of experience, knowing what to expect going in and it’s going to help us out.”

Only six players on the Chargers’ current 53-man roster were in San Diego when they last made the playoffs in 2009, losing to the New York Jets. In fact, 33 of the 53 weren’t even in the NFL when San Diego made the postseason.

Marvin Lewis directed credit for the experience advantage the Bengals will enjoy to the front office. When 20-plus players were free agents this past offseason, Lewis said the team signed everyone they wanted back.

Stability and continuity allow the Bengals a chance to build on the losses suffered the last two years rather than worrying about how new pieces will handle increased pressure.