Carson Palmer didn’t do it. Joey Votto hasn’t been able to pull it off. Ken Griffey Jr. and A.J. Green also came up short.
Joe Burrow accomplished something Saturday that many stars before him failed to do, as he won a playoff game/series in Cincinnati. He and the Bengals became Cincy’s first pro team to do so since the Reds reached the NLCS in 1995.
But that’s not all he accomplished. The star NFL quarterback also won his first postseason start, something guys like Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, John Elway, Aaron Rodgers, and others all failed to do.
He didn’t seem too worried about the significance of the moment, though. Burrow is ready for the divisional round.
Joe Burrow proved his superstardom in his first-ever playoff game with the Bengals
If you wondered whether a playoff game would be too big of a moment for Joe Burrow, you clearly haven’t followed his career. This is the guy who threw for over 950 yards and 12 total touchdowns in his two College Football Playoff games with LSU during the Tigers’ 2019 championship-winning season.
So, his AFC Wild Card Round performance against the Las Vegas Raiders wasn’t all that surprising.
Burrow looked cool, calm, and collected throughout the game, recording 244 yards on 24-of-34 passing for two touchdowns and no interceptions in his first-ever playoff start. He led Cincinnati (or Sincinnati) to a 26-19 win over Sin City, the team’s first playoff win in 31 years. (No, the QB wasn’t even alive yet the last time that happened.)
But while the city partied like it was 1991, Burrow seemed focused on the next task at hand. He didn’t seem overly excited about making Cincinnati history or the fact that he joined notable players like Tom Brady, Brett Favre, Patrick Mahomes, and Joe Montana in winning his first career playoff game.
Joey Franchise is already looking to the Bengals’ next game
No one would have faulted Joe Burrow for taking in the moment on Saturday. Winning the playoff game over the Raiders was a significant accomplishment for the team and the city.
But that’s not what he did.
“Yeah, it’s exciting; it’s exciting for the city, for the state,” he said during his post-game press conference while looking like a jacked version of Tony Stark in slick sunglasses and a t-shirt (H/T Bengals.com). “But we’re not gonna dwell on that. We’re moving forward. We’re ready, whoever we gotta play next, we’ll be ready to go out and execute the game plan.”
OK, so how does he feel about winning his first playoff start?
“I mean, it’s exciting, but this was expected. This isn’t like the icing on top of the cake or anything; this is the cake. So, we’re moving on,” Burrow said.
It appears Burrow will be ready for whatever opponent he and the Bengals (a team some think can make the Super Bowl) play in the divisional round. However, the city took in the moment on Saturday, while other NFL fans recognized what they were watching in Burrow.
Bengals and NFL fans reacted to the big playoff win
As expected, Bengals fans were exuberant after the win. Even the celebrity ones.
“I was 17 the last time my #bengals won a playoff game,” singer and TV personality Nick Lachey, who is originally from Cincinnati, tweeted. “To watch that game with my son made it worth the wait!! Love this city and love this team. Why stop now, let’s keep this thing going! #whodey #thejoeshow”
Another fan/sports reporter added some context to the win.
“This is the first time any Cincinnati fan 26 years old or younger has been alive for a Bengals playoff win or a Reds playoff series win,” Brandon Saho of Cincinnati’s WLWT tweeted. “A whole generation has never seen a playoff win until now.”
And even non-Bengals fans enjoyed the game, especially when realizing just how special a QB the team has in Joe Burrow.
“Joe Burrow wins a playoff game. Get used to that. Team is young and talented and the quarterback is the goods. Gonna be around a while. #Bengals,” ESPN’s Mike Greenberg posted.
It was, indeed, a special night in the NFL on Saturday. But we should probably expect to see more of it from Joe Burrow and the Bengals in the future. It appears they are just getting started.
Stats courtesy of ESPN