Yesterday afternoon, the Cincinnati Bengals took on the Washington Football Team. It was a battle of former number one overall picks: Joe Burrow v. Alex Smith. Unfortunately, only one of those quarterbacks was able to finish the game.
Three minutes into the second half with the Bengals leading 9-7, Burrow was taken down on a drop-back. That play would happen to be the last of Joe Burrow’s rookie season as it has now been confirmed that the quarterback has a torn ACL (and possibly more).
#Bengals QB Joe Burrow suffered a torn ACL based on the initial diagnosis, source said. There may be additional damage. Burrow signaled it with his tweet, but the MRI confirming the injury would end his stellar rookie season.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 22, 2020
The video is gruesome and, at least to me, I expect there to be more damage to the knee of last year’s Heisman Trophy winner than just the ACL.
With Burrow’s injury comes a lot of questions. Obviously people wonder whether or not he will be the same player, but the bigger questions have to be asked of both the front office, and the coaching staff.
There has been a running joke since Burrow declared for the 2020 NFL Draft that Cincinnati was going to get him killed. Whether it was the horrible offensive line, or just the ineptitude of upper management to keep his career alive, that “joke” always carried a kernel of truth.
Knew that Bengals OL would eventually get Burrow killed. Just awful.
— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) November 22, 2020
But how much are the Bengals really to blame for this injury? A lot.
Head coach Zac Taylor went into the season expressing how good he felt about the offensive line. An offensive line made of a left tackle that missed his rookie year (Jonah Williams), an average center (Trey Hopkins), a punchline at right tackle (Bobby Hart), and two guards that have shown very little in their NFL careers. With that in mind, Burrow was entering the league ready to get hit and hit and hit.
Sure there was the upgrade of signing former Buffalo Bills guard Quentin Spain. And yes, Bobby Hart is actually having the best year of his career. But all in all that has added up to Burrow getting hit 72 times BEFORE the game Sunday.
#Bengals QB Joe Burrow came into the game having taken 72 hits. That was tied with Daniel Jones for the most by a rookie QB in his first nine games since 2000.
— Joe Reedy (@joereedy) November 22, 2020
And yes, some of those hits are a result of Burrow extending plays. And yes, this play could have happened to any quarterback. Still, not every quarterback gets their left guard driven back five yards into their knee. Football is football and players are bound to get hurt, but the negligence on the side of Cincinnati is somewhat unforgivable. Everyone and their mother knew the o-line was an issue coming into the year.
In yesterday’s news conference after the game, the aforementioned Taylor talked about how good the line has been playing. He claimed that people who haven’t looked at the film were the ones criticizing the line. That may be true to a point, but numbers don’t lie. If Burrow was getting hit / sacked at one of the highest rates in the league, their issue across the line have to be well known. And the fact that Taylor continued letting Burrow drop-back as much as any QB in the NFL behind this porous front, this disaster was bound to happen.
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– Jarrod Ribaudo (@jarrod_ribaudo)
Featured image courtesy of Twitter / @DarrenMHaynes