By Cole Parkinson
Sunny South News
Drafted first overall in the 2020 NFL draft, Joe Burrow was obviously looked at as one of the most exciting young quarterbacks in the league.
After his rookie season was cut short in 2020 after tearing his ACL and MCL in his left knee during week 11 against Washington, Burrow arrived on the scene in 2021. After such a massive injury early in his NFL career, I think it would be fair to say expectations may have been lowered. But, Burrow was a rockstar throughout the 2021 season, particularly in the latter half of the season where the Cincinnati Bengal offence was one of the best in the league.
In 15 games, Burrow had a 70.4 per cent competition rate, threw for 4,611 yards, connected for 34 touchdowns, and two rushing touchdowns, while also throwing 14 interceptions. I fully expect Burrow to get a few votes in MVP voting, though he’s a long shot to win after the seasons Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady had. All signs point to Rodgers winning back to back MVP awards. Nonetheless, Burrow looks to be a mainstay on the top quarterback list and after the year he had, I think there’s nowhere to go but up.
The Bengals finished with a record of 10-7, good for first in the AFC North. That also birthed a playoff appearance — the first since 2015 in which they were knocked out in the AFC Wild Card round against Pittsburgh.
Regardless, it’s easy to say this team has been the most exciting Bengals team in a while and it was incredibly loud through the TV this weekend when the Las Vegas Raiders rolled into Cinci for the first playoff game of 2021 on Saturday.
In an exciting game, the Bengals saw their first playoff win in 31 years with a 26-19 victory. Burrow was on fire in the first half as he delivered two touchdown passes, one of which was a beauty in the second half where he kept himself in bounds before firing a pass into the endzone to Tyler Boyd.
While he wouldn’t find the endzone again, it was a pretty successful first playoff game for Burrows. He made 24 of 34 completions in the air, racking up 244 yards, two touchdowns, and he finished the game with no interceptions.
While his first NFL playoff win is in the books, there’s not much left to celebrate as the Bengals turn their focus to the divisional round and their next opponent — the Tennessee Titans. Burrow and the Bengals have their work cut out for them. The Titans went 12-5 — good for first in the AFC South.
It looks to be another exciting game for Bengal fans, and regardless of the outcome, the future looks incredibly bright.