Joe Burrow fell just shy of leading the Cincinnati Bengals to their first Super Bowl win. He led the Bengals’ magical playoff run, but the offensive line issues became too much to overcome against the Los Angeles Rams.
The LSU product demonstrated tremendous poise and calmness beyond his brief experience as an NFL quarterback. He anchors what could be a special group in Cincinnati that may have many more deep playoff runs ahead.
However, Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe is concerned about Burrow’s future if the franchise doesn’t adhere to his warning.
Joe Burrow and Bengals can’t handle Rams’ defensive front in Super Bowl 56 loss
Heading into Super Bowl 56, the Bengals knew that the Rams’ talented defensive front could become the difference-maker.
Cincinnati tempered the storm through the first half and eventually grabbed a 20-13 lead. However, the tide of the game changed from that point as Joe Burrow faced constant havoc in the pocket.
In Burrow’s final 22 dropbacks, he was sacked six times, while the Bengals recorded 50 total offensive yards after grabbing the seven-point advantage. Moreover, their last five drives resulted in four punts and a turnover on downs that sealed the loss.
The Rams defense, led by Aaron Donald and Von Miller, who accounted for four of the team’s Super Bowl-record eight sacks, changed the game’s flow. The dominating second half aside, the Bengals’ offensive line struggles highlighted a potentially dangerous truth ahead for Burrow.
Shannon Sharpe doesn’t believe Joe Burrow will last long if Bengals don’t fix offensive line issues
In his first playoff go-around, Joe Burrow’s performance guided the Bengals to a Super Bowl berth.
The offensive protection issues ultimately prevented Cincinnati from securing its first championship. Burrow may have a bright future ahead, but Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe stated Monday on FS1’s The Herd that he doesn’t think the star quarterback will have a long career if the Bengals don’t fix their offensive line.
“He won’t make it to year 10 if they don’t protect him better,” Sharpe said. “I’m not so sure he would have stayed in the game if this was a regular-season game. He stayed in the game after they got it because this was the Super Bowl. You can’t get sacked 70 times in a season and expect to play an extended time. It’s not going to happen.”
Burrow will be the face of the franchise for many years, but the offensive line situation sits as the biggest problem. The LSU product was sacked 70 times (regular season and playoffs combined), the third-most in a single campaign, and a postseason-record 18 times.
As Sharpe keenly pointed out, Burrow suffered a knee injury in the Super Bowl that he would not have played through if it had not been that game. What is also looked past is that the 25-year-old is only a little over a year removed from suffering a torn ACL caused by poor offensive line protection.
The Bengals possess every reason to fix their biggest weakness, as Burrow’s NFL future could wind up unfolding much differently.
Bengals must address offensive line through free agency and draft
As the Bengals head into the offseason, the game plan is simple: Improve the offensive line.
Cincinnati will possess $57.3 million in salary-cap space, while several key players will hit free agency. The likes of Jessie Bates III, C.J. Uzomah, B.J. Hill, Tre Flowers, and Eli Apple, who did himself no favors with his Super Bowl 56 performance, will be free agents.
Several prominent offensive linemen such as guard Brandon Scherff, tackle Terron Armstead, center Ryan Jensen, and tackle Orlando Brown Jr. will be available. Beyond that, the Bengals must further build depth up front through the draft with a few of their eight selections.
Joe Burrow is the future, and if they want to maximize his talent, especially before his next contract, beefing up the offensive line is a necessity.