The Cincinnati Bengals, as with most teams, began OTA practices yesterday, and that means veterans have come pouring on the field—and into the lines of sight of members of the media. Tuesday was Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow’s turn to fulfill his media obligations, discussing the Super Bowl loss for the first time this offseason.
“Going into last year, we knew we were good, but I think going into the playoffs, we knew we could win but we weren’t really sure what it took”, Burrow told reporters, via Ben Baby for ESPN. “We just went out there and played really hard and together as a team, and it worked out”.
He added that now, “we know what it takes” to win the Super Bowl and can use that moving ahead into next season and beyond. “We have that experience in our back pockets going forward”.
In case you’ve somehow forgotten, the Bengals advanced to the Super Bowl at the end of last season and came within a minute or two of actually winning the game. They finished the regular season with a 10-7 record, their first winning season in half a decade. And they also recorded their first postseason victory in 40-plus years.
They did so driven by 2020 first overall pick Joe Burrow and his college wide receiver, 2021 top-10 pick Ja’Marr Chase, who made for an explosive pairing right off the bat and gave Cincinnati instant credibility that they haven’t had in at least a few years.
Burrow completed 366 of 520 pass attempts last season, leading the NFL in completion percentage (70.4), throwing for 4,611 yards with 34 touchdowns to 14 interceptions. He also led the league by averaging 8.9 yards per pass attempt.
During their four-game postseason run, he completed 97 of 142 pass attempts for 1,105 yards with five touchdowns to two interceptions. He went 22-for-33 for 263 yards and one touchdown in the Super Bowl loss to the Los Angeles Rams, though he also took seven sacks (among the 70 or so he had on the year in 20 games).
But now the Bengals will be coming in with the target on their backs, rather than as underdogs. They won’t be sneaking up on anybody and catching them off guard. Nobody will be overlooking them when they see who their next opponent is.
And that includes the rest of their divisional opponents—perhaps especially the Pittsburgh Steelers, against whom they have recorded three straight wins, for the first time since 1989-90, and this after having lost 11 games in a row. Unfortunately, I can’t see the Steelers beating Burrow in 11 straight games.