Count out the Cincinnati Bengals if Joe Burrow ends up missing significant time. Heck, the Bengals season may not be able to survive their quarterback missing one more game − or even part of one.
Call it an overstatement and deny reality all you want. But we’ve seen enough of how the Bengals perform without Burrow – or without him being fully healthy − to know they can’t consistently win.
We saw it in Baltimore on Thursday night, when Burrow suffered a wrist injury in the first half and didn’t return in Cincinnati’s 34-20 loss to the AFC North-leading Ravens.
Burrow is the Bengals. Everyone should fully understand that now.
The severity of Burrow’s injury remained unknown after the game. That has Bengals fans fearing the season is over, and they have reason to feel that way.Bengals Ravens commentary Cincinnati Bengals’ season takes 180-degree turn with Joe Burrow injury, loss to Ravens
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We saw it in the first month of the season, when Burrow played with an injured calf and the Bengals dropped three of four games.
Cincinnati sits in last place in the AFC North and is staring at a daunting schedule that includes no gimmes.
The worst team left on the schedule is Indianapolis (5-5), which has wins against Baltimore and Houston – the teams responsible for the Bengals’ two-game losing streak.
Amazing that the Bengals are going to go into Thanksgiving weekend with only one win against an AFC opponent this season.
Forget the narrative fed to you out of Paycor Stadium heading into this season. The Bengals’ roster wasn’t built to win a Super Bowl.
It was built to afford Burrow’s record, $275 million contract extension. And it’s all good as long as he’s healthy. The Bengals always have a shot to win big if No. 9 is good to go.
The Bengals have been exposed. They aren’t good enough in the running game and on defense to weather their quarterback being banged up. A healthy Burrow masks a lot of weaknesses.
To be fair, every team in the NFL has them. It’s the reality of operating in a league with a salary cap.
But that’s no excuse for the Bengals, who again spent under the salary cap. They had a chance to upgrade their running game.
They didn’t. They could’ve kept at least one of their two veteran starting safeties. They let both team leaders go.