Joe Burrow looked pretty discomforted on the Bengals’ second-to-last drive of Sunday’s game against the Steelers. The rookie quarterback rolled his ankle at the end of the first half and dealt with the injury for the remainder of the game.
With five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Burrow took another low hit and was slow to get up before proceeding to jog off of the field with a clear limp. The Bengals closed their insurmountable gap to 26 points the next play thanks to a meaningless Randy Bullock field goal, but head coach Zac Taylor was still thinking about momentum.
That was just one of the reasons Taylor cited when asked why he kept Burrow in the game for the final drive of the game. The other was to simply score points in a game that was already over.
Zac Taylor said he left Joe Burrow in at the end of the game to get some momentum and points at the end of the game.— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) November 16, 2020
After a five-play drive that took two of the remaining five minutes off of the clock, Burrow came back onto the field with the rest of the offense and racked up 22 yards on five plays before the clock hit triple zeros and the Bengals’ inevitable defeat became official.
This was the first time Burrow seemed to get hurt this season, but whether or not Burrow left the game on a stretcher or on his own two feet, no amount of perceived momentum would be worth incurring further damage on Burrow’s injured ankle.
When asked about the situation, Burrow backed Taylor’s decision to keep him in the game.
“I’m not a quitter, I’m not coming out of the game,” Burrow said in his postgame press conference. “I don’t care if we’re down 100, down 20, down 10, I’m not coming out.”
While that’s encouraging to hear and should please his fellow teammates, that is why it’s up to Taylor to make the call. Because if something did happen to Burrow in a losing effort when he was clearly already hurt, the repercussions would be monumental.
Now 2-6-1 on the season, the Bengals will travel to Washington next week as Taylor’s pursuit for a single road victory as an NFL head coach continues.