Who would’ve thought the Cincinnati Bengals would be one win away from reaching Super Bowl LVI? The answer is not many. Still, Zac Taylor’s squad is here, mainly due to the emergence of Joe Burrow. The second-year quarterback has put together a stellar 2021 NFL season. ESPN analyst Louis Riddick believes Burrow has the it-factor that sets him apart from many guys in the league.
Louis Riddick praises Joe Burrow’s poise
Joe Burrow doesn’t seem to get rattled by big stages. It looks like those are where he does his best work.
Louis Riddick loves watching the Bengals signal-caller go to work in crucial moments because of his demeanor. The Monday Night Football commentator recently joined The Rich Eisen Show and discussed the maturation of Burrow in year two.
“It’s his poise,” said Riddick. “Confidence and not being someone who gets rattled despite being so young. He’s just wired that way. That’s in his DNA. He’s always been a guy that’s looked at challenges as being temporary roadblocks and not something that can slow him down.”
Riddick also praised Burrow for his maturity and leadership dating back to his college days. He highlighted how the Heisman Trophy winner transferred to LSU from Ohio State and led the Tigers to a National Championship. The ESPN analyst says Burrow showed similar poise bouncing back from his devastating knee injury.
“His rookie year, having his knee blown up,” said Riddick. “Then coming back faster than anybody thought he would. Never blinking behind an offensive line that can be like swiss cheese in front of him. He never throws anybody under the bus, never seems to complain. His facial expression never changes, and body language never changes.”
Louis Riddick believes Joe Burrow’s calm, cool, and collected presence rubs off on his teammates, which is why the Bengals are in the AFC Championship Game.
The Bengals QB has a promising NFL future
The Joe Burrow hype train gets more and more passengers every week. He deserves the praise, too. The Cincinnati Bengals franchise hasn’t seen a talent quite like him, and he’s been a treat to watch in the 2021 season.
It was uncertain how Burrow would respond after suffering a torn ACL and MCL in the Week 10 loss to the Washington Football Team during the 2020 season. The injury cost the young quarterback the rest of his promising rookie season.
The LSU product came back fully healthy in 2021, which showed in his production. He threw for 4,611 passing yards, 34 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions in 17 games. Burrow’s 70.4% completion percentage led the NFL. He also finished the regular season with a quarterback rating of 108.3.
With Burrow under center, Cincinnati’s offense turned things up several notches in 2021. The Bengals boasted the league’s seventh-ranked offense. They put up 361.4 yards and 27 points per game in the regular season.
Even though Joe Burrow didn’t earn a Pro Bowl nod, he definitely put the rest of the NFL on notice. The 2020 No. 1 overall pick has established himself as one of the best young quarterbacks in the entire league. Pro Football Focus awarded him a 91.7 regular-season grade in 2021, the highest mark of any quarterback.
Burrow’s legend will grow if he leads Cincinnati to the Super Bowl
Joe Burrow is already drawing comparisons to some all-time great quarterbacks, including Joe Montana and Tom Brady. While he has a long way to go before he achieves half of what those guys did, it’s a testament to the impression the Bengals star has left on people in 2021.
The Ames, Iowa native oozes with confidence and poise, as Louis Riddick suggested. That swagger is what makes the Bengals tick. Zac Taylor’s crew was a long shot to win the AFC North. Cincinnati secured the division title anyway.
Burrow bounced back in a major way in year two. He hasn’t done it all by himself, though. He has a plethora of weapons at his disposal, including Ja’Marr Chase, Joe Mixon, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd. His explosive connection with Chase translated from college to the pros perfectly. The Bengals defense has some holes, but it’s drastically improved year over year.
While it’s an all-around team effort, the 25-year-old quarterback will receive a lot of the credit, and for a good reason. His confidence, poise, and leadership have Cincinnati in a position to contend for years to come.
The Bengals secured their first playoff win in 31 years by beating the Las Vegas Raiders in the Wild Card Round. They followed it up with a 19-16 upset over the top-seeded Tennessee Titans in the Divisional Round. Next up, a date with Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game.
If Joe Burrow and company pull off another shocker, they’ll all become legends in Cincinnati.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference