NFL

Bengals 'want to do some things to help' Joe Burrow

By Sports Desk February 17, 2022

The Cincinnati Bengals will look at ways to improve their team and help superstar quarterback Joe Burrow after an outstanding season ended in defeat at Super Bowl LVI.

The Bengals, who had not previously won a playoff game in 31 years, came within minutes of their first Super Bowl victory.

But a drive led by Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp put the Los Angeles Rams into a 23-20 lead, which three-time Defensive Player of the Year winner Aaron Donald protected when the Bengals attempted to come back down the field.

Donald finished with 10 pressures – a total only topped in a Super Bowl once since 2006 (Nick Bosa, 12, in Super Bowl LIV) – of the 23 Burrow faced.

In that same recent period, there have been six examples of a quarterback being pressured 20 or more times in the Super Bowl and only one (Patrick Mahomes, 28, also in Super Bowl LIV) has won.

Burrow's seven sacks tied the Super Bowl record (Roger Staubach in Super Bowl X) and followed his league-leading 51 in the regular season.

It is no secret that the Bengals' issues are on the offensive line, although that much was clear last year, too, when Burrow tore his ACL and MCL in his left knee after being hit by two Washington defenders.

Rather than address the problem with the fifth overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Bengals selected wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase, who had played with Burrow at LSU.

The Bengals were rewarded as Chase had 81 catches for 1,455 yards and 13 touchdowns in the regular season, earning Offensive Rookie of the Year honours, but their inability to protect Burrow proved costly in the closing seconds of the season.

Can they now belatedly find a fix? That certainly appears to be the plan.

"Joe is a smart player and that shines through," Bengals owner Mike Brown said. "He's accurate, he's tough as nails. We want to do some things to help him."

Brown added: "I think we have the core of a top team, we'll add to it and I think we can make it better."

If the Bengals can just keep Burrow clean a little more often, they have every chance of returning to the big game during the quarterback's tenure.

"We're a young team," Burrow said immediately after Sunday's defeat, "so you'd like to think we'll be back in this situation multiple times over the course of the next few years.

"We take this and let it fuel us for the rest of our careers."

Addressing the team's fans, Brown said: "My one regret is I'm not carrying a new trophy. The Bengals are real. The future is bright. You, our coaches and our players are going to have some trip."

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