On third-and-8 with 44 seconds left in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow was sacked by Chris Jones.
It would be Burrow’s last play, as Kansas City squibbed the kickoff following Harrison Butker’s game-winning 45-yard field goal that sailed through the uprights with three seconds on the clock.
Burrow finished the game 26-of-41 passing for 270 yards with a touchdown and a pair of interceptions. It was the first time Burrow had thrown multiple interceptions in a postseason game.
But Burrow also made some incredible, timely throws — like the 27-yard touchdown to Tee Higgins, the 35-yard pass to Ja’Marr Chase on fourth-and-6, and the 23-yard pass to Hayden Hurst on third-and-16 with 1:03 on the clock.
Even as Burrow and the Bengals won’t head to the Super Bowl for a second consecutive year, the quarterback said postgame that he’s encouraged the future.
“Even last year, the expectation was to always be in this game and to win it,” Burrow said, via Geoff Hobson of the team’s website. “I think we have the guys in that room, going forward, that will put us in that position, along with the front office and the coaching staff.
“I feel very good about the direction that we’re headed in. We’ve been in this game for two straight years. We have won one and lost one. Obviously, this one hurts but we will come back stronger.”
Three years into his career, Burrow has undoubtedly positioned himself as one of the league’s top quarterbacks. Cincinnati picking up his fifth-year option in the spring will be nothing but a formality. But Burrow is also now eligible for a contract extension and arguably should become one of the highest-paid players in league history before the 2023 season begins.