For a guy who is used to playing for championships, winning an early-round playoff game is the starting point.
“I tried to downplay it and all that because this is how it’s gonna be from here on out,” Burrow said Tuesday during his weekly news conference. “It was a great win for us. But now this is the standard for the bare minimum every year going forward.”
Burrow helped the Bengals snap the NFL’s longest drought without a playoff win when Cincinnati beat the Las Vegas Raiders in the wild-card round. The Bengals (11-7) will travel to face the Tennessee Titans (12-5), the top-seeded team in the AFC, in a divisional-round game this weekend.
Throughout his athletic career, Burrow has won at the highest level. He was a few plays away from winning a state championship at Athens High in southeast Ohio. He led LSU to an undefeated season and national title in January 2020.
So it makes sense that the second-year quarterback, the No. 1 draft pick in 2020, isn’t impressed with just one playoff win. In fact, he said he expected the success Cincinnati is experiencing to happen earlier.
“I thought it would happen last year,” Burrow said. “Unfortunately, I got hurt. But we weren’t super good last year. But this year, this is the expectation.”
Burrow is one of the leading contenders to win the Associated Press’s NFL Comeback Player of the Year award. After suffering a season-ending left knee injury in his rookie season, he led the Bengals to their first AFC North title and playoff berth in six years.
Cincinnati coach Zac Taylor wasn’t surprised by his quarterback’s nonchalant reaction to the playoff win.
Said Taylor: “He puts in the work to put himself in a great position, and consequently that’s leading the team to great things as well.”
If the Bengals beat the Titans in Nashville on Saturday, Cincinnati will face Buffalo or Kansas City in its first AFC Championship Game appearance since 1988.