This one isn’t on Joe Burrow. Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals’ season came to a disappointing end as Los Angeles Rams defender Aaron Donald got to the quarterback in the final seconds of the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LVI. In Donald’s grasp, Burrow went down for the seventh time of the evening on a game-deciding 4th-and-1. It’s a familiar storyline we’ve seen for the past two seasons. Offensive line issues still need work and hold Cincinnati back, and the Bengals should count themselves as lucky that they didn’t lose their quarterback in the second half of the game when he went down awkwardly with what appeared to be a knee injury to his non-surgically repaired knee. https://twitter.com/TingznWingz/status/1493047981427372033 It didn’t look good as Burrow limped off the field, but he waved the trainers off and came back in to finish out the game, unable to totally get the job done on a night where mistakes from not only the offensive line but supporting cast members like pass-catcher Tyler Boyd—who had a crucial dropped pass that could have moved the chains and likely allowed the Bengals to score—caused problems for the team. https://twitter.com/ActionNetworkHQ/status/1493051687384268800 Burrow, unsurprisingly, didn’t think twice about leaving the game and says he’s going to get the knee looked at when he gets back to Cincinnati. When reporters asked him about it, his response was simple and to the point, reflective of the type of fight he’s shown his entire career, reminiscent of his “never slide” days. “I wasn’t coming out,” he said. Burrow completed 22-of-33 passes for 263 yards with one touchdown and zero interceptions, just a mere two plays and/or some questionable officiating from becoming the first quarterback in history to be the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft, win the Heisman Trophy, lead his college football team to a national championship, and win a Super Bowl—something that did but shouldn’t have slipped away from him based on his own play. Despite the fact the offensive line was subpar and has given up 19 sacks over four games this postseason, Burrow didn’t put the blame on the unit. “I thought for the most part they played really well up front,” Burrow told reporters after the game. “I was proud of the way that they fought. I’ve been proud of the way they fought all season. We all have to get better individually, myself included.” While it’s obviously difficult for Bengals fans to not be frustrated about this outcome when it’s just one day old, there is no better time than now to not only enjoy the ride but to be incredibly optimistic about the future. Burrow has everything to do with that. The focus should be on how he became one of Cincinnati’s best players in a matter of weeks when he was drafted in 2020 and how he took a team with a plethora of issues from one of the most laughable in the nation to one to be feared in less than two seasons all while spitting in adversity’s face, coming off of reconstructive knee surgery that many doubted he would ever be able to fully bounce back from. Burrow is no stranger to setbacks and this is just another small one. You can bet that the quarterback who once assumed a place on the bench at Ohio State with no signs of ever starting before transferring to a program that had a reputation for average quarterback play over recent history, only to completely flip the narrative on that for LSU, will be back next season and for many more to come.
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