Joe Burrow is the soul-snatching, dream-stealing, January-villain of the AFC. Patrick Mahomes may be better. Josh Allen is certainly stronger. Both have more commercials.
Neither, however, is as unflappable or as unbeatable as the Cincinnati quarterback. At least not of late.
Buffalo had him where it wanted him on Sunday, inside a Western New York snow globe, surrounded by the Bills’ table-busting Mafia. That included no less than Damar Hamlin, inspirationally looking down through the flakes.
All of Buffalo had been waiting one year and 13 seconds for this, another shot in the divisional round, another chance at the Chiefs, another push toward the Super Bowl. If not last year, then what year, they wondered? Well, if not now, then when?
Maybe when Burrow retires, which, considering he is 26 years old, is going to be awhile.
Cincinnati 27, Buffalo 10, and for Burrow and his Bengals, it’s back to Kansas City, where they won the AFC title last year. For the Bills it’s back to historic misery.
“Domination,” Burrow said on CBS after. “From start to finish.”
Joe Burrow looked comfortable in Buffalo’s snowy conditions on Sunday. He went 23-of-36 for 242 passing yards and two touchdowns in Cincinnati’s victory. (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)
It wasn’t just Burrow’s on-field performance, although that was impressive. He finished 23-of-36 for 242 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 31 yards. The Bengals’ ability to control both lines of scrimmage was the biggest difference maker, but that was some elite quarterback play, especially under the circumstances.
“Felt like football,” Burrow said. “It was fun.”
As much as anything, it is his demeanor, his confidence, his curiosity, not cowardice, in the face of a playoff environment out of the Bills’ wildest imagination — snow, cold and noise.
All of that attitude rubs off on his teammates, on his coaches, on an entire organization and fan base that was known as much for its demoralizing despair,…