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Bengals Face Daunting Playoff Challenge with Joe Burrow’s Injury

by Ethan Kim
3 comments
Playoff Uncertainty

Even before the devastating announcement of Joe Burrow’s season-ending wrist injury, the Cincinnati Bengals were already navigating a treacherous path in their quest to secure a playoff spot for the third consecutive season. However, without Burrow, the hill they must climb might be insurmountable.

The recent 34-20 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night has leveled the Bengals’ record at 5-5. As Jake Browning prepares to enter the facility on Monday to commence preparations for the November 26th game against Pittsburgh, he does so for a team that is merely one game away from a wild-card spot.

Nevertheless, the Bengals find themselves in a challenging position with a dismal 1-5 record in conference games, and they have yet to secure a victory in any of their three division matchups.

The upcoming schedule is not in their favor either, as they face the Pittsburgh Steelers twice, a team with a .500 or better record. However, there is a glimmer of hope in the fact that Indianapolis, Minnesota, and Cleveland are also fielding backup quarterbacks.

In response to the situation, Jake Browning remains steadfast and focused, stating, “I don’t feel a lot of weight. Maybe I’m the one off with that assessment. I think I would be doing myself a disservice if I started hopping into all the different narratives of a good player going down. Not really my job. My job is to keep trying to get better, focus on the day to day, week to week, and game to game. It sounds kind of repetitive, but there’s a lot of different ways your mind can go. If you take everything and just narrow it down to: ‘Hey, here’s what I really need to focus on. Here’s what actually matters,’ everything else kind of falls into place.”

Browning’s journey to this point has been one of perseverance. He spent the past two seasons on the Bengals’ practice squad before being elevated to Joe Burrow’s backup this season. During the recent game against the Ravens, Browning demonstrated his capabilities, completing 8 of 14 passes for 68 yards and throwing a touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter.

Browning’s collegiate career at the University of Washington was marked by being a four-year starter and leading the Huskies to a pair of Pac-12 titles. Despite going undrafted, he continued to work diligently, spending the 2019 and 2020 seasons on Minnesota’s practice squad.

Coach Zac Taylor expressed confidence in Browning’s ability to execute the team’s offensive game plan. Taylor emphasized that Browning’s familiarity with the system, gained through extensive snaps during training camp, was a significant advantage.

“I feel really comfortable he can do all the things we ask our guys to do in our offense. So, it doesn’t take anything off the table,” Taylor said. “Obviously, you want to continue to play to his strengths. You continue to change conversations from, ‘Hey, Joe, what do you like in the plan?’ to more, ‘Hey, Jake, what do you feel most comfortable about in these situations?’ That’s the only thing that really changes within the scope of our offense. Everything stays on the table.”

In terms of positives from the recent game, Browning showcased his agility under pressure, gaining 40 yards on four quarterback scrambles, including two crucial first-down pickups.

On the flip side, linebacker Logan Wilson’s reputation has come under scrutiny following an incident in which he used a hip-drop tackle to bring down Mark Andrews on the opening drive of the game. Andrews suffered a season-ending ankle injury on the play, and Wilson recovered the ball at the Bengals’ 4-yard line. Coach Taylor defended Wilson, stating that the criticism was unwarranted and that Wilson played the game the right way.

In terms of stock trends, rookie safety Jordan Battle had an impressive game with a season-high 11 tackles, including 10 solo stops, and saw a season-best 57 snaps. However, offensive tackle Orlando Brown faced challenges, allowing five quarterback pressures in 14 one-on-one matchups against Baltimore linebacker Odafe Oweh. Brown’s struggles have been evident this season, as he has allowed 31 quick pressures, the most of any offensive lineman in the NFL.

Regarding injuries, Coach Taylor provided no updates on CB Cam Taylor-Britt, who left the game due to a thigh bruise, as well as WR Tee Higgins (hamstring) and DE Sam Hubbard (ankle), who were inactive.

A noteworthy statistic is that this marks the fifth season since 2008 that a Bengals starting quarterback has been unable to finish the season, underscoring the challenges they face without Joe Burrow.

Looking ahead, the Bengals must strive to avoid dropping their first four AFC North games for the first time since 2020 when they host the Pittsburgh Steelers on November 26th. The path to the playoffs remains uncertain, but the team, led by Jake Browning, will continue to give their all in pursuit of a postseason berth.


Source: AP NFL

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Playoff Uncertainty

Q: What is the current record of the Cincinnati Bengals after Joe Burrow’s injury?

A: The Cincinnati Bengals currently have a 5-5 record following Joe Burrow’s season-ending wrist injury.

Q: Who is Jake Browning, and what is his role in the Bengals now?

A: Jake Browning is the backup quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals. He stepped in to replace Joe Burrow after Burrow’s injury.

Q: How has Jake Browning performed in recent games?

A: In a recent game against the Baltimore Ravens, Jake Browning completed 8 of 14 passes for 68 yards and threw a late fourth-quarter touchdown pass.

Q: What challenges do the Bengals face in their quest for the playoffs?

A: The Bengals face challenges with a 1-5 record in conference games and a winless record in three division matchups. Their upcoming schedule includes tough opponents like the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Q: How has rookie safety Jordan Battle performed in recent games?

A: Rookie safety Jordan Battle had an impressive game with a season-high 11 tackles, including 10 solo stops, and saw a season-best 57 snaps.

Q: Who is Logan Wilson, and why has his reputation been a topic of discussion?

A: Logan Wilson is a linebacker for the Bengals. His reputation came into question after an incident involving a tackle that led to an injury to Mark Andrews. However, Coach Zac Taylor defended Wilson’s play.

Q: What is the Bengals’ historical record regarding starting quarterbacks and injuries?

A: This marks the fifth season since 2008 that a Bengals starting quarterback has been unable to finish the season, highlighting the challenges they face without Joe Burrow.

Q: What is the next important game for the Bengals?

A: The next significant game for the Bengals is against the Pittsburgh Steelers on November 26th, where they aim to avoid dropping their first four AFC North games.

Q: How can the Bengals secure a playoff spot despite the challenges they face?

A: Securing a playoff spot will require the team, led by Jake Browning, to overcome their challenges, improve their conference and division game records, and perform well in upcoming crucial matchups.

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3 comments

PlayoffsHopeful November 20, 2023 - 6:04 am

Bengals gotta step up in da conference games, and dat Steelers game, huge! C’mon Bengals, we want playoffs!

Reply
BengalsFan82 November 20, 2023 - 11:56 am

bengals got probs witout burrow! browns doin ok, but still tuff road ahead. bengals gotta win big games!

Reply
FootballLover23 November 20, 2023 - 9:51 pm

Browning seemz like a good backup, 8 of 14, not bad. Wilson, why they hatin on him? Coach got his back.

Reply

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