The Cincinnati Bengals cemented their return to a second consecutive AFC Championship game with a convincing victory against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. Quarterback Joe Burrow was a main reason why, as he threw for 242 yards and two touchdowns, including one to Ja’Marr Chase on the opening drive of the game.
There are a lot of names that come up in the conversation for best quarterback in the league, and Burrow is making a strong case that his should be at the very top of the list.
In the past two postseasons, the Cincinnati Bengals have done a lot of their work away from home. They were able to notch victories against the Las Vegas Raiders and Baltimore Ravens in Cincinnati during each of the last two Wild Card Weekends, but they’ve really made a name for themselves on the road. That success in a hostile environment continued against Buffalo on Sunday, in front of an amped up crowd in some inclement weather.
Burrow now has three playoff victories on the road to his credit, and he’s looking to add a fourth to his resume on Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs. For many teams, playing away from the comfort of their home confines is an enormous undertaking, but it seems like Burrow relishes the chance to accomplish something great when the odds are against him.
Overcoming On-Field Adversity
Even though he had a lot of expectations coming out of LSU as the number one overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Joe Burrow’s NFL career didn’t get off to the easiest start. The Bengals didn’t have all of the talent on their roster that they do now, and Burrow was often forced to make something out of nothing.
He played in 10 games in his first NFL season, and was sacked 32 times. Burrow’s initial campaign was cut short due to an ACL injury he suffered, and he now had to deal with a personal recovery in addition to difficult circumstances around him.
Burrow would be ready for Week 1 of the 2021 season, and its been largely smooth sailing ever since. He’s still been taking a ton of punishment behind Cincinnati’s patchwork offensive line, but he’s confidently stood in the pocket and delivered the ball to his playmakers.
Personality and Poise
While physical traits and the ability to process what is happening on the field matters for a quarterback, intangible characteristics also make a difference. Teammates have to believe that the quarterback is putting them in the best position to succeed, and that there’s always a chance they can win when their leader is under center.
It feels like Burrow’s steadfast belief in his own skills, and the talent of those around him continues to lift up the organization as a whole. It’s apparent that Burrow doesn’t blink when a crucial play needs to be made, and his calm demeanor keeps Cincinnati relaxed during tense moments late in games.