Football is a dangerous game and, as the star quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals, Joe Burrow is no stranger to injury. After an injury-shortened rookie season, we have just witnessed one of the most overdue comebacks in football history for the Bengals franchise. Leading the Bengals offense and holding multiple franchise records, it would never have happened without Burrow.
Today we’re looking at Burrow’s career in the NFL so far, including how he bounced back from his injury, became champion of the American Football Conference, and is set to face the Los Angeles Rams at Super Bowl LVI. To get in on the action, check out Super Bowl betting odds.
Burrow’s College Career
Starting out with the Ohio State Buckeyes, Burrow redshirted his first year and then played backup for T.J Barrett. Soon, he saw that Dwayne Haskins would become the starting quarterback and so he transferred to the Louisiana State University Tigers. By the time he left, he had played 10 games across two years, passed for 287 yards, made 29/39 passes, and scored two touchdowns.
With LSU, he became their starting quarterback despite being a redshirt junior. He quickly became SEC Offensive Player of the Week twice in the same year, finishing the season with 2,894 passing yards, five interceptions, and 16 touchdowns.
His 2019 performance didn’t slow down, racking up more Offensive Player awards and carrying LSU up the collegiate team rankings. At the SEC Championship Game, Burrow threw four touchdowns and became the most prolific single-season touchdown scorer in the conference.
For his efforts, he won the Heisman Trophy by almost 2,000 votes ahead of second place, the largest victory margin in the trophy’s history. While the most notable, it was just one of the awards he won that year.
His final collegiate outing was against Clemson at the 2020 National Championship Game. He scored six touchdowns across 463 thrown yards to become offensive MVP. At 202, he held the passer rating record for a short amount of time.
Rookie Season Injury
Unsurprisingly, Burrow was selected first in the 2020 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. Going into the season, he was the favorite to become NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. We think he would have won it if circumstances were different.
He gained momentum against the Los Angeles Chargers and the Cleveland Browns despite the team losing both match-ups. Their first 2020 victory came when Burrow and the Bengals beat the Jacksonville Jaguars. In the next game, he racked up 400 passing yards, three passing touchdowns, and a rushing touchdown.
Unfortunately, his rookie season was cut short at Week 11. While throwing a ball against the Washington Football Team, Burrow took a hit and tore his ACL and MCL, and also damaged his meniscus and PCL. He was placed in reserve for the rest of the season, not seeing the field again until 2021.
His 2021 Comeback
A football player tearing their ACL is a big problem, so Burrow was put out of commission after tearing his ACL and MCL, and partially tearing his PCL and meniscus too. Jimmy Burrow, Joe’s father, said that the injuries devastated his son but that he saw them as another challenge to overcome. Some doubted that Burrow wouldn’t return to football.
But, as we know by now, Burrow completed his rehab and was ready to return to the field for Week 1 of 2021. The Bengals needed the morale boost as they climbed the AFC, Burrow earning the conference’s Offensive Player of the Week award.
In Week 16, he registered a career-high after throwing for 525 yards, crushing the Baltimore Ravens 41-21 and earning a 143.2 passer rating, the highest of his career.
He established two all-season franchise records in the next game against the Kansas City Chiefs, which was too close for comfort, passing 34 touchdowns and 4,611 passing yards. By now, he was leading the league in completions at 70.4%. Burrow was back at the top of his game.
Burrow didn’t let up, sailing through the Las Vegas Raiders and the Tennessee Titans to reach the AFC Championship Game. Having only just clinched the victory from them a month ago, the Bengals had to overcome the Kansas City Chiefs yet again to top the AFC.
Showdown Against The Chiefs
Soon into the AFC game, it became clear that the Bengals were in trouble when the Chiefs stormed ahead 21-3. What followed next was a crazy 18-point comeback led by Burrow, tying for the largest comeback in a conference championship game (Indianapolis Colts, 2006). The result was a 27-24 victory in overtime, after which Burrow sought out his physical therapist and thanked them for their help.
Burrow hadn’t just made his own comeback; he had broken a 33-year Super Bowl drought for the entire Bengals franchise. Since 1988, the Bengals hadn’t seen a Super Bowl game of their own, and now they need to overcome the Los Angeles Rams to bring the entire season home. The Rams are the favorites right now, though Burrow has proved he shouldn’t be underestimated.
That’s the story of Joe Burrow and his troubled rookie season, which he has more than redeemed in 2021. No matter the sport, it is always inspiring to see athletes take their licks and come back fighting even harder. With the Super Bowl game looming, it seems that the Cincinnati Bengals actually have a chance of sending the Los Angeles Rams home packing with Burrow leading their offense.
Nobody saw the Bengals becoming AFC champs at the start of this season and one thing is certain, nobody can see what will happen when the Bengals clash with one of the NFL’s most prolific franchises.
Even if they lose, Bengals fans can take pride in what Burrow has accomplished over this last year. He has rejuvenated the franchise and, if not this year, he may carry the Bengals to a Super Bowl victory a year or two down the line.
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