Bengals defense, not Joe Burrow, has keyed Super Bowl run
The Cincinnati Bengals are headed to the Super Bowl. Their journey here after six total wins in the previous two seasons is beyond improbable. Joe Burrow is the face of the franchise, but he isn’t the biggest reason the good guys are going to Los Angeles.
Statistically, nothing Burrow has done in the postseason is going to wow you. He has a passer rating of 96, four touchdown passes, two interceptions, and just one 300+ yard passing game.
Where Burrow has been great this postseason is the one or two “gotta have it” plays in every game.
Some that immediately come to mind are the play to Ja’marr Chase that set up Evan McPherson’s game-winning kick in Tennessee, the third and goal touchdown pass to Chase that set up the game-tying two-point conversion in Kansas City, and just his general command of the offense leading up to Mcpherson’s kick that sent Cincinnati to the Super Bowl.
However, all those things have something other than Burrow in common. They were all set up by turnovers forced by the often forgotten about Bengals defense that created short fields for Burrow and company.
Bengals defense is to thank for getting the team to this point
When you dig deeper, it is truly astounding how much of Cincinnati’s postseason run has been carried by the defense. The Bengals offense has only managed five touchdowns in three playoff games.
Regardless of how good a team’s kicker is, the only way a team wins playoff games with a stat like that is if their defense stands on its head, and the Bengals’ defense certainly has.
- The Raiders averaged 21.8 points per game this year and were held to 19.
- The Titans were held to 16 points despite averaging over 24.
- Finally, the Chiefs were limited to 24 points after averaging over 29 on the year.
We’ve all watched the Bengals playoff games and know how slim the margins have been. Despite Burrow getting the bulk of the attention, the real difference lies in this paragraph
It has been homegrown talent like Sam Hubbard and Logan Wilson combined with free-agent additions like Eli Apple and Trey Hendrickson that have come together at the perfect time to step up and carry the team throughout the playoffs.
The Bengals have stunned everyone to get to the Super Bowl. They might as well finish the job and win it all. The fact is, Burrow playing to his postseason numbers probably won’t do it unless the defense does the same.