The Cincinnati Bengals faced the harsh reality that their season was over on November 17th. The Bengals fell to 5-5 after losing to the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night, but that was not the worst news of the past 24 hours.
Quarterback Joe Burrow left last night's game right before halftime with a injury and was ruled out for the rest of the game.
Many teams have reached the playoffs and even won the Super Bowl without their starting quarterback like the Philadelphia Eagles did in 2017-2018 when Carson Wentz went down in December, and backup Nick Foles took them to the Super Bowl and won it.
Unfortunately, the Bengals will not have a fairy tale story, and its 2023 season has ended.
Burrow is the heart and soul of the team, and everyone saw that the first few weeks of the season when he was dealing with a calf injury and couldn't perform like himself.
The offense was out of whack, and they fell to a 1-3 record. One of those losses was a beat down to a bad Tennessee Titans team.
Burrow looked like he was starting to get healthy, and over the past few weeks, he began to look great again. The Bengals looked like a legit contender, but that has been thrown away after the Burrow news.
As of right now, Jake Browning will be the starting quarterback, and he replaced Burrow on Thursday night, completing 8 of 14 passes for 68 yards and a touchdown.
Browning has played in two NFL games and has never started one in his career. The Bengals will now be putting their season in the hands of a quarterback who has yet to do anything at the NFL level, and it's not like the Bengals have a great team around him.
Bengals Season Is Over
The offensive line has been underwhelming once again, and of course, the Bengals have great skill position players in running back Joe Mixon and wide receivers Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd, but are we trusting Browning to get the ball to them?
Higgins has also been banged up for most of the season and has missed the last two games due to an injury. He also is in a contract year, so he could throw in the towel this season and make sure he doesn't get even more banged up before signing a new deal.
The Bengals need a defense that can carry them like other teams, and they rely on their offense to do most of the work.
If the Bengals didn't already have five losses and only had three, I could still see this team having a shot to make the playoffs. However, they only have a little room for error now. They still have a few complicated tests on the schedule, having to play Pittsburgh twice, Kansas City, Minnesota, Jacksonville, and Cleveland.
If Cincinnati can pull off a few miracles, they have a chance to make a wild card spot, but the odds are against them, and as of right now, their season is over.
I would turn the page to 2024, and Burrow is still one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. If he stays healthy, they will be back to being a contender.
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