Conrad Clowers. File photo

By Conrad Clowers

Herald Sports Writer

There’s been a fear going around the NFL for good reason. Quarterbacks are being hurt at an alarming rate. Not just for a game or two, but for the entire season. Here’s a list of teams that are in the process of playing the rest of the season without their QB: Cleveland, New York (Jets), Indianapolis and Minnesota.

I remember watching the opening Monday night football game with the New York Jets and the Buffalo Bills. The Jets just knew it was their year. Already with one of the league’s best defenses, all they needed was a QB that could get them over the top. They signed a sure fire future hall of famer in Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers didn’t last five plays into the season, when he was taken out with a torn achilles. You could see the look on Jets fans faces. The blank and stoic look that’s displayed when a tragedy happens.

It seemed like week-by-week quarterbacks were going down like planes over the Bermuda Triangle. I remember thinking the Bengals have been lucky the past two seasons without any major injures. It’s the central reason the team has made it to two straight AFC title games. Is this the year the Cinti luck changes? I, along with every other person that follows the Bengals, got the answer. This past Thursday, November 16, Cincy luck ran out. Bengal QB Joe Burrow, who had been flirting with disaster all season with leg and finger injuries, finally got the knockout punch. Burrows season was ended when a hit from a Ravens player sent Burrow’s ligament in his right hand going different ways. The NFL’s highest paid player tried, but was unable to continue. News broke midday Friday confirming a torn ligament in Burrows hand. He will need season ending surgery.

Cincinnati was then added to the unenviable list of teams who had high hopes, but had their season torpedoed after losing their starting QB. While Cincy has not had the greatest season up to this point, the former LSU great always give the Bengals a fighting chance against any team in the NFL.

Without Burrow the Bengals become just another team. Sure, they do have some stars that will do some great things. But the realistic chance of a Super Bowl  title went down the second Burrows ligament tore. He is that important to the Bengals.  The disaster last week hurts worse than Burrow tearing his ACL in 2020. With or without Burrow, Cincy was going nowhere in ’20.

In 2023, they have an entirely different team that many feel was ready to capture their first Super Bowl title.

Cincinnati will play the rest of 2023 without Burrow. The loss of the superstar is a gut punch to the team and Bengal nation. At this point, all the Bengals can do is try and finish strong and  focus their attention toward next season.

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