by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
vs Washington (2 1/2 quarters):
22/34, 203 YARDS, 1 TD
6.0 Yards Per Attempt
-10 first down completions
-3rd down completions: 3
-3rd down rushes: 2
-3 completions of 15+ yards
- 4 completions of 10+ yards
242 / 370 = 65.4%
6.7 Per Completion
89.8% Passer Rating
130 Rushing Yards
Hits Suffered: 76
When Joe Burrow went down on Sunday afternoon, one of the most inspiring rookie seasons of our time came to a sudden, swift, shocking and brutal end.
In typical 2020 Burrow fashion, Joe started the game on fire, roasting Washington for 10 first down passes, a trio of 3rd down completions, a riotous touchdown pass to A.J Green and a pair of 3rd down rushes.
The former Tiger consistently ripped speed-demon missiles through tight gaps all across Jack Del Rio's secondary. Still, Bengals' LT Jonah Williams has proven to be an achilles heel for this Cincy O-Line and Joe was mercilessly exposed for the 32nd time this season....finally, after taking 75 total hits, the 76th took down the rookie slinger for the rest of this foul 2020 season.
The fragmented, horrorshow imagery of LSU's purple and golden knight, the NFL's flavor of the next two decades, the Bengals' "Lebron James-elect" NOW writhing on the floor in agony will be one of the worst sporting memories I've had to live through in my lifetime.
My father, a Washington 'Skins fan always talked about & showed us Joe Theismann's leg-breaker on Monday Night Football....courtesy of Lawrence Taylor, but no matter the impact or the severity difference, what happened to Joe Burrow (on account of my favorite NFL team) today will live on as the rock bottom in 2020 sports, as well as one of the biggest advertisements for dropping money on a stud left tackle we'll ever witness.
Despite the number of historic hits and sacks, Joe stuck up for his offensive line time after time, Burrow even spent big on lavish dinners for his big men...and yet once again, from both edges, Cincy's O-line left Joey B vulnerable to some earth-collapsing shots (Myles Garrett x2) culminating in today's horrendous double hit:
On 3rd down and 2 with 11:41 remaining in the 3rd quarter, Burrow's Cincy still ahead 9-7, the Heisman winner and Rookie of the Year candidate suffered what looked to be a season ending left knee injury after a nasty double collision, from his low left by Washington's Jonathan Allen (ex Bama player) and DE Montez Sweat coming in up high from Joe's right.
As Joe steps into the throw to launch the football, the majority of the damage comes from Allen's low shot at Burrow's shins, scything the National Champion to the field in a truly ghastly fashion, hyper-extending the leg / knee.....
This was from Joe's blindside, Allen's helmet contacting through the left leg during and throughout the plant as Sweat runs into him from up high on the opposite flank, forcing the former Tiger simultaneously off balance.
Watch it closer:
LT Jonah Williams tackles Allen during the sack, sending Allen's waste-high aim lower and driving Allen directly into the back of Burrow's lower leg, combining his weight on top of the former Bama DT's 300+ pounds while Joe doubled over in an awful position, his knee dangling in the wind.
This wasn't just an injury which hurt Burrow fans, Cincy, LSU sympathizers or the state of Ohio....the toxicity of #9 eerily clutching at his knee was a little too much:
Throughout the hell of 2020, Joe Burrow helped people like me get through the day, the potential of his high octane savagery appearing limitless...infinite...divine..
My my my the Bengals have already taken Joe for granted when they failed to pack their O-line with available guys like Trent Williams (among others)....now, they face the same uncertainty as they did before...failing Joe Burrow in the process during a triumphant rookie year.
The Bengals know what they need to do now....O-Line, RBs, O-Line, WR, O-line, O-line......Cincy's front office gambled in year one by going without a top left tackle, they took his elusive greatness for granted...
"Thanks for all the love. Can't get rid of me that easily. See ya next year," Joe Burrow tweeted after he was carted into the locker room and taken to a local hospital.
Coincidentally, during his midweek press conferences, Joe talked about Washington's Alex Smith and his own unbelievable injury recovery (after a hit from J.J Watt broke his leg and ankle, became infected with sepsis, faced amputation, comas and even near death at one point):
"It'll be a lot of fun to have a conversation with him on Sunday after the game," Joe said after saluting Smith's journey and admitting to watching the ESPN documentary series surrounding Alex's nearly fatal leg and ankle injuries.
After a reporter said "Urban Meyer once called you the Next Alex Smith", Joe smiled and acknowledged his respect for the former Ute Heisman candidate, saying "he was the #1 overall pick and that's who I wanted to be..."
We imagine Alex is devastated over Joe's misfortunes.
Joe Burrow's 2020 represented far more than just a #1 overall quarterback finally making good on their promise, #9's rookie season will be remembered as a season in which Burrow banished every last doubter for good, pulling off the same plays his critics claimed "he'd never be able to recreate in the NFL"; With a porous offensive line constantly hurling Joe into dangerous collisions, it's a testament to his iron curtain physique or his pure toughness that LSU's college football G.O.A.T wasn't hurt weeks ago.
Burrow was no doubt concussed at least once, he was consistently roughed up, yet throughout the punishment, Joe actually raised his stock to an all new impossible high.
What other quarterback would be in the running for Rookie Of The Year with only 2 wins?
It didn't matter if Cincy were losing when Burrow was a rookie...the flashes of the future were there...as advertised and then some, earning the respect of NFL veterans and legends. In such a short span of time, Burrow finally won over the mainstream approval he never wanted nor gave a damn about earning.
For all intents and purposes, rookie Joe Burrow arrived gifted with the poise, swagger and knowledge of a winning, veteran NFL quarterback...he was just waiting for the rest of his Bengals teammates to join him.
BLACK LIVES MATTER
by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
Copyright 2020 Uninterrupted Writings Inc LLC
SHOUTOUTS: Hang in there Joey B, Tiger Nation, Bengals Nation and ALL humans everywhere are with you brother!