The Cincinnati Bengals have been one of the best teams in the AFC since they got Joe Burrow with the top pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Burrow has led the team to a Super Bowl appearance already and has become one of the premier stars at the quarterback position in today's NFL.
Unfortunately, the Bengals are now going to have to finish the remaining seven games they have this season without Burrow, whose season is reportedly over due to a wrist ligament injury that is possibly under investigation by the NFL.
Burrow's injury is under investigation from the NFL because video footage emerged of Burrow wearing some type of brace on his hand/wrist area before Thursday's game against the Ravens, but he wasn't listed on the Bengals' injury report.
Now, obviously, we've seen that whatever he was dealing with before the game against the Ravens was much more serious than perhaps anyone anticipated, even Burrow himself.
You certainly hate to be doom-and-gloom about something like this, but this injury spells certain doom for the Bengals' 2023 season. I think that's more stating the obvious than anything else, but while timing of an injury like this is never "fortunate", the Bengals missed out on the possibility of trading for someone like Joshua Dobbs or even picking up a veteran like Carson Wentz.
They have Jake Browning on the roster as of right now, and he showed some decent things late in that game against the Baltimroe Ravens, but the Bengals also got off to a slow start this season.
They don't really have the built-in cushion with a 5-5 record to be able to weather the storm that is the AFC at large, much less the overloaded AFC North in which they now find themselves in sole possession of last place.
The Bengals' division rivals in Cleveland are also dealing with a season-ending injury to their starting quarterback, Deshaun Watson, and the aftermath of that. It's very possible that in just a few days' time, we've seen two really good teams in the AFC wiped off the board of "legitimate" contenders due to quarterback injuries.
The Bengals have an opportunity next week to bounce back in a divisional matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and thanks to playing on Thursday, they'll have a little bit of extra time to prepare and get Jake Browning ready.
If the Bengals can improve to 6-5 against a really tough Steelers defense, then perhaps we're prematurely writing them off this season. But for now, it feels like this team should just set their sights on 2024.