Two years ago, the Bengals hit rock bottom and had to start over.
Gone were Andy Dalton and Marvin Lewis, and the franchise committed to a reset for the first time in over a decade. Simply put, the franchise needed a savior.
Then out walked a cigar smokin’ Ohio kid with a confident attitude named Joe Burrow. Wouldn’t you know it, the Bengals are on the doorsteps of the franchise’s first AFC Conference Championship appearance since 1988. The culture has practically changed overnight in Burrow’s second season under center — as have the expectations for those who put on a Bengals helmet.
“I think the fans were very excited, but I tried to downplay it and all that because this is how it’s going to be from here on out,” Burrow said, via FOX News. “It was a great win for us, but this is the standard — the bare minimum every year going forward.”
Burrow, 25, certainly set the standard Saturday evening against the Raiders. He threw for 244 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions on 24-of-34 passing, and Cincinnati won its first playoff game since 1990, a 26-19 victory over Las Vegas.
Burrow was well-equipped to handle his first career playoff game, having starred in the 2020 College Football Playoff while at LSU. The Tigers triumphed over Clemson 42-25, and Burrow was the star of the show.
“I think I’ve just played in a lot of big games throughout my career, whether it’s this year — I mean, every game in the last half of the season was a playoff game,” Burrow said. “Or those games playing in the College Football Playoffs and the championship, I think I’ve been in that situation before.”
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