Bengals’ Burrow plays it cool after delivering playoff win

CINCINNATI -- Joe Burrow led the Cincinnati Bengals to their biggest victory of his lifetime Saturday.

He didn’t sound that impressed, though.

“That was an exciting win,” the quarterback said after helping engineer a 26-19 triumph over the Las Vegas Raiders at Paul Brown Stadium. “Now we can move on to the next one.”

In truth, it was an average game for Burrow. He completed 24 of 34 passes for 244 yards, about 44 below his season average.

He posted a QB rating of 110.4, just above his regular season mark of 108.3.

He was sacked twice and pressured much more than that, but he did not turn the ball over.

His two touchdown passes were not as many as he wanted, but they were enough.

“I mean, it’s exciting, but this is expected,” Burrow said. “This isn’t like the icing on top of the cake or anything. This is the cake and so we’re moving on.

With the Raiders containing the Bengals running game and bearing down on Burrow throughout, a record crowd of 66,277 saw Gritty Burrow rather than High-Flying Burrow or Gun-Slinging Burrow most of the afternoon.

Then after the game he was simply Joe Cool.

“It felt good,” he said. “We could have played better on offense in the second half, so that was disappointing, but I thought we played really well in the first half and we made plays when we needed to. Defense stepped up in fourth quarter, so it’s an exciting win. On to the next one.”

Maybe Burrow was’t impressed, but he did something Carson Palmer and Andy Dalton could not: Deliver a playoff victory to the city of Cincinnati.

“It’s exciting for the city, for the state, but we’re not going to dwell on that,” Burrow said. “We’re moving forward. We’re ready, whoever we’ve got to play next we’ll be ready to go out and execute the gameplan.”

Since arriving from LSU last year, Burrow has been expected to deliver this kind of win.

That’s what comes with being the No. 1 overall pick, especially one who rewrote the college football record books in his national championship-winning season for the Tigers in 2019.

The book on Burrow was that he made up for any lack of arm strength with moxie, something that has been on display all season as he got more and more comfortable coming back from a knee injury that ended his rookie season early.

His confidence had become the stuff of legend by the time he finished up at LSU, and he said at the NFL Scouting Combine the following February that was a product of his preparation.

He felt if he put in the work, studying his opponent and knowing what to expect, he couldn’t be stopped.

It’s appeared to rub off on his teammates — and his coach.

“We’ve got all the faith in the world in Joe,” Zac Taylor said. “so there’s never any panic on our end.”

Burrow broke the Bengals’ season records for passing yards (4,611), passing touchdowns (34), 300-yard games (six) and passer rating (108.3) in his first full season and wasted no time getting that first playoff win.

For his next trick, he managed to make the word “exciting” seem mundane in the aftermath, driving it into the ground as reporters mined for some of the emotion evident just about everywhere else in Paul Brown Stadium.

“It’s straight to work,” Burrow said of what’s next. “Obviously we’re excited about the win, but it’s the playoffs. If you dwell on this one too much, then you’re going to get beat in the next round.”

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