It was a night of joy and heartbreak for the Cincinnati Bengals at the 2022 NFL Honors awards show.
The heartbreak came when Bengals great Willie Anderson was snubbed from the 2022 Pro Football Hall of Fame class.
There’s also frustration that Zac Taylor didn’t even finish in second or third-place in the Coach of the Year voting, which frankly looks hilarious now that he’s coaching in the Super Bowl and beat two of the coaches ahead of him in these very NFL playoffs.
I'm not sure what Matt LaFleur will have to do in order to win coach of the year, but the voting wasn't close:— Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky) February 11, 2022
Mike Vrabel: 25
Matt LaFleur: 8
Rich Bisaccia: 3
Zac Taylor: 2
Bill Belichick: 1
Thankfully, the night did provide some Queen City joy in the form of awards for Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase.
To no surprise, Chase was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Burrow, also unsurprisingly, won Comeback Player of the Year.
During a very memorable 2021 regular season for the Bengals, Chase led all NFL rookies and ranked fourth in the NFL with 1,455 receiving yards, the most by a rookie in the Super Bowl era. He also grabbed 13 touchdowns, third-most in the NFL this season, while finishing with 81 catches overall.
In Week 17, Chase recorded 266 receiving yards in a 34-31 win over the Kansas City Chiefs, the most ever by a rookie in a single game.
You can imagine a receiver putting up numbers like that had a pretty ok quarterback.
Burrow was certainly that and more in a season that began less than a year after a devastating knee injury that included ACL and PCL tears to go with a damaged meniscus.
The former No. 1 overall pick by way of the LSU Tigers completed a league-high 70.4% of his passes while throwing for 4,611 yards and 34 touchdowns, leading the Bengals to an AFC North title while finishing as Pro Football Focus’ top-graded quarterback.
Burrow’s 525 yards during the Week 16 win over the Baltimore Ravens broke Boomer Esiason’s 33-year-old franchise single-game passing record and was the fourth-most in the NFL ever.
The night ended with Bengals great Andrew Whitworth being named the Walter Payton Man of the Year following his 2021 season with the Los Angeles Rams.
Admittedly, I was pretty pissed about Willie, but the night ending with Big Whit honored was a beautiful way to end it.