It’s been three months since the Super Bowl crowned the Los Angeles Rams the champions and left the Cincinnati Bengals to ponder what might have been. And some of that pondering came up during Joe Burrow’s first press conference of the offseason on Tuesday.
Burrow was asked about the fateful fourth-down play that basically ended the season for him and the Bengals. On that play Burrow was pressured and nearly sacked by Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald on fourth down, forcing an incomplete pass.
Bengals receiver Ja’Marr Chase was running deep down the sideline at the time.
It might’ve been a game-winning touchdown with 39 seconds to play.
“Yeah, I checked to that go-route,” Burrow told reporters Tuesday. “I was anticipating throwing it. Didn’t quite have the time so.”
So now you understand why the Bengals spent the last few months remaking their offensive line — because Burrow was sacked seven times in that Super Bowl, tying a Super Bowl record, and nine other times in a playoff victory over Tennessee, and 51times in 16 regular-season games.
“Like I said we put this behind us. We lost. We put this behind us. We’re going for it (this year),” Burrow said.
The Bengals will be going for it with a new starting center in Ted Karras, new starting right tackle in La’el Collins, and new starting right guard in Alex Cappa — all free agency additions. The team also drafted North Dakota State offensive tackle Cordell Volson in the fourth round, suggesting he might add depth.
All of that to get Burrow’s mind off that Super Bowl moment and the disappointing result. And to keep him from getting hit quite so often.
“Before the Super Bowl when you guys always asked me about playing in these big games — I played in the state championship and played these tough, big games in college — those were the biggest game in your life, just like the Super Bowl was,” Burrow said. “I’ve lost a bunch of those games before so I know how to handle losing and how to come back strong.”
Burrow took time away from football after the Super Bowl.
“I’m excited to get back at it,” he said. “Two months is just about all I need to take a break, to take a step back, forget about football and then we’re back it. I’m excited to be back. A ton of new faces in there, excited about it, everyone who has come in here has really added to the culture of the locker room so I’m excited about all those guys in there.”
And Burrow’s using this offseason, in which he doesn’t have to worry about rehabilitating his knee like he did last year, as a time to improve.
“Tweaking little things here and there,” he said. “At this point I’m not going to have a big overhaul of everything that I’m doing. I’m just looking to refine my entire game as a whole.
“This is my first offseason in the NFL so I’ve been able to take advantage of that as far as my body and my throwing and my mind,” Burrow said. “Obviously, I’ve been grinding but it’s also been relaxing not worrying about whether I’m going to be ready for the season.”
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