The worst fears of the Cincinnati Bengals organization and their fans have been realized.
The first overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, tore multiple ligaments in his left knee during his squad’s 20-9 loss to the Washington Football Team on Sunday, sources told ESPN.
Head coach Zac Taylor refused to confirm the extent of Burrow’s knee damage, but did acknowledge that his franchise player would be out for the remainder of the season. MRIs showed that on top of tears to the MCL and ACL of his left knee, the Ohio State product may have other structural damage in the joint as well, according to ESPN’s sources.
After watching him get carted off the field following what looked to be a grisly collision in which Washington Football Team defensive linemen Jonathan Allen fell on the quarterback’s left leg as another d-lineman, Montez Sweat, hit him up top, Burrow confirmed everyone’s worst fears with a tweet that read in part, “See ya next year.”
Burrow was officially placed on the Bengals’ injured reserve on Monday, though Taylor could not offer an idea of a timetable for the rookie’s surgery or an expected return date other than sometime during next season. He did say that the 23-year-old was in “great spirits” on Monday.
“On the bus, on the plane, you know, in the facility today, he’s responded as well as he could possibly do it and we’ve all noticed that,” Taylor said of his rookie quarterback.
Though these types of injuries usually take about nine to 12 months to recover from, reports of additional structural damage to Burrow’s knee on top of the ligament tears have casted doubt that the Dames, Iowa native will be ready for Week 1 next season.
Burrow was selected by the Bengals with the top pick of the draft this past April with the hopes that he would greatly accelerate the turnaround of a franchise that has been on a three decade streak of mediocrity (or worse). Burrow got out to a solid start as an NFL freshman, putting up 2,688 yards, 16 total touchdowns, and just five picks while completing 65 percent of his passes in 10 games, though his team is just 2-7-1 after Week 11.
The 2019 Heisman Trophy winner was the favorite to win Offensive Rookie of the Year before the season started, but he was supplanted at the top of the odds chart in Week 4 by Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert, who has been on quite a hot streak and now finds himself as the -500 frontrunner to win the award on 10bet.
There’s no value in Herbert anymore after Burrow was removed from the running, so I would suggest looking at a flier on Tua Tagovailoa, who is currently sitting in third with +1200 odds (10bet). If Tagovailoa can avoid getting benched again and steer his 6-4 Miami Dolphins into the playoffs (where Herbert is unlikely to lead his squad, posting a 3-7 record through 10 games) it would be pretty hard not to recognize that accomplishment with some sort of award.
Meanwhile, back in Cincinnati they are back to square one under center. Ryan Finley came in on clean-up duty in D.C. on Sunday and went 3-of-10 for 30 yards and an interception. He also had one rush for 19 yards and was sacked four times. Veteran Brandon Allen was also promoted to the 53-man roster to bolster the quarterback room, though Taylor has yet to name a starter for Cincy’s matchup with the Giants next week.