The NFL is all about the Haves and Have Nots. The Haves are the teams that are putting a top quarterback under center every week, and the Have Nots...well, they are hoping to find that guy or treading water with a good enough quarterback.
Cincinnati Bengals fans don’t need to be told they are part of the Haves with Joe Burrow. The general NFL fan may have forgotten about him, but Cincinnati knows better than to count him out of any game against any quarterback.
He remains the only quarterback currently in the NFL to have bested Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL Playoffs. The only other quarterback to defeat Mahomes in the postseason was Tom Brady, who did it with the New England Patriots and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers one apiece.
Fans remember Cincinnati’s magical run in 2021 where Evan McPherson kicked the field goal that ended the Chiefs’ season in Arrowhead.
Mahomes has only experienced two other losses. The first was the 2018 AFC Championship game when Brady was still with the New England Patriots. The second was the 2020 season when the Chiefs were dismantled by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV, led by Brady.
Mahomes is fresh off defeating both Tua Tagovailoa, Josh Allen, and Lamar Jackson in these playoffs, the latter two being on the road. These are three of the top quarterbacks in the NFL outside of Mahomes and Burrow, and none were able to stop this Chiefs train, despite it being a down year for their offense.
The AFC is very much a gauntlet of very good teams. However, in the postseason, quarterbacks are put under even more of a microscope than usual. That is a kind of pressure most of us will never face in our lifetimes. Some guys thrive in those scenarios, and some don’t. The Bengals can at least rest assured they have a guy who doesn’t shy away from that pressure and shows up big time during them.
Mahomes and Burrow are now 1-1 against each other in the postseason. Odds are we will get that matchup again soon enough.