All season long, and really since Joe Burrow got there, the Bengals have widely been viewed as one of the top contenders in the loaded AFC. However, the outlook on the Cincinnati Bengals‘ season completely changed in Week 11.
Fast forward to the current day as the Bengals get ready for a Week 13 Monday night affair, and the fact that Burrow is not available changes everything. What was supposed to be a promising season changed to fighting for their playoff lives in one moment.
Let’s take a closer look at the Burrow injury and the latest information surrounding his timeline for return.
What Is Joe Burrow’s Timeline for a Return?
While facing the Baltimore Ravens in Week 11, Burrow was knocked out of the game with a wrist injury, and not long after his exit from the contest, it was announced he was ruled out of the game, and the word was that he was expected to miss the rest of the season. The official injury was identified as a torn ligament — a crushing blow for a talented Bengals team.
“The play before it happened, I landed on the wrist a little bit, and the next play, the touchdown pass, just felt a pop in the middle of the throw,” Burrow said to media after the game. “Tried to give it a go but just couldn’t get it done, and obviously got the news today, so not great.”
This development means that Burrow will not be suiting up for the Bengals Monday night matchup against a good Jaguars team. The Bengals instead turn to Jake Browning to find a way to keep the offense afloat as they see if they are still somewhat of a contender for this year despite not having their quarterback for the remainder of it.
However, despite the doom and gloom for the 2023 season, the long-term prognosis for Burrow remains bright, with only 2023 being impacted, as the expectation is that he will be ready to go next season with no carryover effects. While that is good news for the future, the injury is a tough pill to swallow for him and the team as it pertains to the 2023 season.
Head coach Zac Taylor made it clear that the team was still confident and remain optimistic when it comes to the rest of the season.
“It’s tough to see your starting quarterback who’s as good as Joe Burrow go down,” Taylor said. “But I’m proud of the way the guys responded and proud of the way they’ve carried themselves. And so I’ve really liked what I’ve seen from these guys, again we’ve got a lot of talent on this roster, and this season’s far from over.”
What Can the Bengals Offense Without Their Star QB?
It is never easy to replace a starting quarterback, never mind a player who is widely viewed as one of the league’s best. However, this is the Bengals’ current reality, and they will need to lean on the rest of their offensive talent to lift up Browning and hopefully propel them back into playoff contention.
Players such as JaMarr Chase and Joe Mixon will need to carry more of the load and lead their units. Rather than knowing they had a proven guy at quarterback, it may take for everyone around to lift their level of play and see if it may be enough.
It certainly is a tall task for the unit, and it is not how the Bengals drew it up coming into the year, but things change in the blink of an eye in the NFL, and this is just the latest reminder of that.
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