It is incredible that Joe Burrow now holds the most playoff wins by a Cincinnati Bengals quarterback. Burrow has been a professional for last than three full seasons, but his three wins in the playoffs from last year when the Bengals went on a magical run – plus the one yesterday when they held off the Baltimore Ravens late in the game – gives him four playoff wins in his young career. It is not like the Bengals have been a perennial playoff power (clearly), but it is still a fantastic achievement for a player that only turned 26 years old a month ago.
Joe Burrow Struggles Versus Ravens
That isn’t to say that Burrow had it all his own way against the Ravens on Sunday Night. Baltimore was down its own young quarterback stud in Lamar Jackson, a quarterback with a playing style that always makes him injured at this time of the season. Backup Tyler Huntley had the Ravens in position to tie – or perhaps even go for the win – late in the game, but his final heave was deflected in the end zone before falling to the turf. It was a case of survive and move on for Cincinnati as they escaped to face the Buffalo Bills next weekend after the Ravens played them closer than most expected.
We likely should have seen this coming. Playing the same team three times in a season is always tricky – look at how the Bills struggled against a Miami Dolphins squad that had been in no type of form entering the playoffs. Division opponents know you better than any other team. They know how to minimize your strengths and exploit your weaknesses. Add in that the Ravens are always a tough, physical, no-nonsense team, and you have all the ingredients for an upset.
That said, Burrow has to be better against the Bills than he was here. A combination of his offensive line struggling to contain the Ravens’ pass rush and Baltimore seemingly always having the ball with their ability to control tempo got Burrow out of his usual rhythm. Even so, Burrow passed for just 209 yards and one touchdown – he did add another with his legs – as the usual free-flowing and devastating Cincinnati offense was primarily held in check.
If anything, their play late in the game is a concern moving forward. They had three chances to put the game away: driving for a score or grinding out the clock with their four-minute drill. They were unable to do either, giving Baltimore the ball back repeatedly and giving the Ravens multiple chances to tie the game. Huntley couldn’t bring Baltimore back, but the odds are good that a Buffalo team led by Josh Allen would find a way to score in the same situation. The Bengals are a good enough team to win the Super Bowl this season, but Burrow and their offense will need to be a little more efficient down the stretch in games for the Lombardi Trophy to spend a year in Cincinnati.