Bengals predictability among worst parts of Joe Burrow injury
The season-ending injury to Joe Burrow is at least a temporary killer for both he and the Cincinnati Bengals franchise. However, this isn’t your typical NFL injury.
Injuries are a tough fact of life in the NFL. Most can be chalked up to the sport being an incredibly violent game being play by powerful men. Freak non-contact and practice injuries happen. Thus, injuries are unpredictable by nature. Sadly, through no fault of his own, Joe Burrow tearing up his knee Sunday was very predictable.
Burrow’s injury was a matter of time
It was obvious from the first game of the season that the Bengals hadn’t fixed their offensive line issues. Still, by halftime of Week two in Cleveland, it was equally obvious that Joe Burrow was special. Burrow had to throw the ball 61 times on that Thursday night, was sacked three times and took several other shots.
Other than facing the lackluster pass rushes of Jacksonville and Tennessee, Cincinnati’s season has generally followed this script. After the first Browns game, it was clear to anyone watching that Burrow could not keep getting hit as often as he was or disaster would strike. Disaster hit Sunday.
If you know football and had been watching all season, you knew it would at some point. The Bengals don’t have the personnel to protect whoever is at quarterback. That wasn’t going to get fixed during the season. Burrow was and still is the source of great hope for a franchise that hasn’t had much since the 1980s.
Those hopes were fulfilled prior to yesterday too.
Zac Taylor deserves even more heat
Unfortunately, if it wasn’t before, it is now abundantly clear that Bengals head coach Zac Taylor has no clue what is going on with his team. Burrow had been sacked three or more times in seven games prior to Sunday. The one thing Washington does really well is get after the quarterback.
Knowing all that, Taylor had Burrow throw 15 times in the first quarter alone. The lack of effort to run the ball when Cincinnati falls behind in games is somewhat understandable, but they were leading early in the second half when Burrow tossed his 34th and final pass attempt on Sunday. It just doesn’t make sense.
Running the ball keeps the defense honest and protects Burrow. The Bengals paid for their lack of balance in the worst way possible at FedEx Field on Sunday. Taylor’s postgame remarks dug his hole even deeper. While Burrow was not sacked once yesterday, he took plenty of hits before the injury.
Taylor defended his offensive line but crossed the line between coach speak and insulting everyone’s intelligence by calling the pocket Burrow threw from on the play where he was injured “clean”. When you have two rushers falling into your quarterback as he throws, the pocket is the polar opposite of clean.
All this added to a 4-21-1 record that isn’t going to get better means the end of this season should also bring a merciful end to the Zac Taylor era. Hopefully, the franchise and Burrow can somehow recover from the damage Taylor’s tenure has done.