With Super Bowl LVI on the horizon, Joe Burrow is one of the biggest names in sports right now. The Cincinnati Bengals quarterback rebounded in a big way after suffering a season-ending injury midway through his rookie campaign.
A little over a year later, Burrow got his Bengals to the Super Bowl. This is the first appearance in the big game for the stripes since the 1988 season and if they take down the Los Angeles Rams, it’ll be their first-ever championship.
Matt Lombardo of FanSided spoke with several coaches and scouts leading up to the Super Bowl and Burrow was a hot topic of conversation.
"“Burrow doesn’t wow you physically, or really with his arm,” the scout says. “But he’s a really good athlete and he has all the stuff you can’t see. He’s tough. He’s unbelievably clutch. He doesn’t blink. He is very smart and he processes information really fast.”"
As good as Burrow has been, however, and as impressive as Matthew Stafford has been not playing with the Lions for the first time in his pro career, the defenses will be the ones to decide this game, at least according to a source from Lombardo’s piece.
"“It’s going to be the defenses that decide this game,” an NFL scouting director tells FanSided. “And, honestly, it’s going to be really hard for the Bengals to block that Rams front.”"
… and there it is! The first reference to the Bengals’ abysmal offensive line that surrendered nine sacks on Burrow in the AFC Divisional Round in Tennessee. Cincinnati might have won that game and their o-line gave up just one sack in the win over the Chiefs but the Rams have one of the best pass rushes in the entire league.
"“You have to keep sacking Burrow,” an NFL head coach tells FanSided. “Mix coverages. Keep a spy on him, especially after that scramble he had in Kansas City last week, and above all else, you have to stop the run.”"
Sacking Joe Burrow is the Rams’ game plan in Super Bowl LVI
It’s not hard to see why this would be the game plan for Los Angeles. Anyone who has watched the Bengals throughout the 2021 season knows how bad this offensive line is and that was with Riley Reiff at right tackle. With Reiff on the shelf for the past two months, Isaiah Prince has had to slide into that right tackle spot and it hasn’t gone too well.
To make matters worse, right guard has been bad all year and that’s the position tasked with slowing down Aaron Donald. Oof.
The Bengals know they can win games when they give up an ugly amount of sacks, but the Super Bowl is a whole different ball game. Donald, Leonard Floyd, and Von Miller are going to feast against this offensive line and Burrow should be able to make key plays here and there but will it be enough?
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We’ll find out on Sunday.