Bengals’ Playoff Hopes Diminish After Joe Burrow’s Injury

NFL Team Cincinnati Bengals


The Cincinnati Bengals face a daunting challenge as they head into the latter part of their season without star quarterback Joe Burrow, who sustained a significant wrist injury on Thursday night against the Baltimore Ravens. The severity of the injury, confirmed by Coach Zac Taylor and revealed through an MRI conducted on Friday, has cut Burrow’s season short, necessitating what is likely to be corrective surgery. Burrow’s absence will impact NFL Lines

This season-ending injury occurred just before Burrow threw his final touchdown pass to Joe Mixon, a moment shadowed by the quarterback feeling a ‘pop’ in his wrist, as reported by a team source. With an official announcement pending, the Bengals are preparing to advance with Jake Browning as their starting quarterback.

Burrow’s premature conclusion to the season caps off what has been his most challenging professional year to date, marked by not one, but two injuries, both requiring compression sleeves. The first injury surfaced during a training camp practice on July 27, when Burrow appeared with a sleeve on his right calf, which he then strained two hours into the session. This calf issue plagued him throughout the season, hindering his performance and mobility, particularly evident in the Bengals’ Week 2 loss to the Ravens. It wasn’t until Week 5 that Burrow began to show signs of recovery, sparking a four-game winning streak and showcasing the caliber expected of a franchise quarterback.


Is Burrow Under the Injuries Protocol

As the season unfolded, Burrow’s performances fluctuated with his health. Before the fateful game in Baltimore, he donned a compression sleeve on his right wrist, only to encounter another injury post-touchdown against the Ravens. The NFL has since launched an investigation into the Bengals for a possible breach of protocol by not listing Burrow on the injury report.

Burrow’s statistics for the season stand at 244 completions from 365 attempts, translating to a completion rate of 66.8 percent, with 2,309 yards, 15 touchdowns, and six interceptions. He managed a passer rating of 91.0, despite the calf injury impacting his agility and efficacy in at least four games.

Signed to a $275 million contract with $219 million guaranteed just before the season opener, Burrow’s role transitions to that of the highest-paid supporter, rallying behind Browning. As for Browning, previously only one NFL pass to his name, the weight of the Bengals’ high-expectation season now rests on his shoulders.


How are the Bengals doing so far? 

The Bengals, with a 5-5 record and a divisional record of 0-3, find themselves on the fringes of the AFC playoff picture. Their road ahead doesn’t offer any reprieve, with the remaining seven games all against teams with .500 or better records.

Backing Browning is AJ McCarron, who is well-versed in stepping up during pivotal moments, having taken over in 2015 after Andy Dalton’s injury, leading the Bengals to an 8-0 start and a division title. McCarron’s experience nearly extended to a playoff win, thwarted only by a team meltdown.

Bengals fans ar all too familiar with the sting of quarterback injuries derailing promising seasons, with Carson Palmer’s torn ACL in 2005 still fresh in memory. Now, Burrow’s wrist injury joins the list of significant setbacks that have afflicted the team.

The Bengals’ resilience will be put to the test as they attempt to rally from this setback. Burrow’s struggle with his calf injury earlier in the season was evident through his metrics. With a drop in Expected Points Added per dropback to -0.26, ranking 26th, and a Total EPA of -31.8, ranking 29th, Burrow’s completion percentage and passer rating suffered accordingly, landing at 62.4% and 78.3, respectively.

Yet, as Burrow’s health improved, so did his performance. From Weeks 6-11, he ranked seventh in EPA per dropback with 0.10, sixth in Total EPA with 18.3, third in completion percentage at 72.0%, and third in passer rating with 105.9. This midseason resurgence underlines Burrow’s critical role in the Bengals’ offense, which now falls to Browning to maintain.


The Bengals Future

As bettors evaluate Cincinnati’s prospects without Burrow, the outlook hinges on Browning’s ability to step up and deliver performances reminiscent of the franchise’s star quarterback. This will be reflected in NFL Odds. With the playoff race heating up, the Bengals’ response to adversity will be crucial in determining their fate in the competitive AFC landscape.