The Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to see Joe Burrow twice in 2021. Despite Burrow coming off a late November ACL tear that cut short his rookie season, Burrow is expected to be ready for the Cincinnati Bengals’ season opener. That would obviously put him in line to start their Week 3 meeting against the Steelers.
That news comes from a the doctor who performed Burrow’s surgery, via ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
“He’s on track for full go for start of the season,” Dr. ElAttrache told Schefter. “He’s doing all the work. He’s worked his tail off and been an amazingly mature participant in his recovery. He’s focused and great to work with.”
In 10 starts as a rookie, Burrow completed nearly two-thirds of his passes with 13 touchdowns and five interceptions. A good first year considering the poor offensive line he was throwing behind. The Bengals, though, didn’t make any major moves to upgrade the offensive line. They signed veteran Riley Reiff to play right tackle and drafted Jackson Carman to play guard, but passed up on the chance of drafting Penei Sewell at #5. Instead, they selected Burrow’s LSU teammate Ja’Marr Chase.
Burrow was sacked 32 times last season. His 7.3 sack percentage was tenth-highest among all qualifying quarterbacks, and his injury came on a sack versus the Washington Football Team. It would be about another 10 days until he had surgery. But with today’s modern medicine, the timeline to recover and return from ACL tears has greatly sped up. No longer do players miss 12 months. Many come back within 10 months, and some return even sooner than that.
Burrow made one start against the Steelers a year ago, a 36-10 Week 9 loss. Pittsburgh’s defense was dominant, allowing Burrow to complete barely more than half his passes and sacking him four times. They did a great job taking away top weapon Tyler Boyd, bracketing him on nearly every third down and holding him to six catches for just 41 yards.
The Steelers will host the Bengals Week 3 and then travel to Cincinnati Week 12.