They ranked 27th in passing yards per game at 215.5 and 30th in passing touchdowns with 19.
Even the running game suffered as the Bengals finished 25th in rushing yards per game at 104.3 and 29th in rushing touchdowns with 13.
But now that Burrow is back, fans are invigorated to see their beloved team succeed with him under center.
The Super Rookie
His first NFL season was cut short by a knee injury he suffered in Week 11 against the Washington Football Team.
However, Burrow did enough to make the Bengals faithful optimistic about the team’s future.
In their Week 2 game against division rival Cleveland Browns, the former LSU Tiger set an NFL rookie quarterback record for most completions with 37.
— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) September 9, 2021
He also became the first rookie quarterback to throw for at least 300 yards in three consecutive games when he led the Bengals to victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 4.
In Week 7 versus the Browns, he became the first rookie in NFL history with 400 passing yards, three passing touchdowns, and one rushing score.
His 227 completions in eight games were also the most by any player in NFL history.
Unfortunately, his impressive maiden campaign was cut short with less than 12 minutes left in the third quarter of that Washington game.
— Pro Football Hall of Fame (@ProFootballHOF) September 11, 2021
At third-and-two on their 10-yard line, Burrow threw a pass for Tyler Boyd that went incomplete.
The forceful impact caused ACL and MCL tears on Burrow’s left knee, as well as damage to his meniscus and PCL.
His season was over as he left the field on a field equipment cart.
Burrow Strikes Back
Burrow looked sharp in his first NFL game after that horrific injury.
It’s like the 10 months he was out of action led to this gutsy performance over the Minnesota Vikings.
However, he found his bearings in the first quarter as all three Bengals drives led to punts.
He got hot in the second period, though, after completing a two-yard touchdown pass to Tee Higgins.
Joe Burrow is back and he’s still throwing TDs 🔥
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 12, 2021
But Burrow was just getting started because the highlight of the day was about to come.
With the second half winding down, Burrow threw a 50-yard touchdown pass to Ja’Marr Chase, who beat cornerback Bashaud Breeland on a go route.
SIX FOR CINCY.
— NFL (@NFL) September 12, 2021
That one play dissolved criticisms about Chase’s struggles in catching the football.
More importantly, the Burrow of old is back and ready to compete.
His left knee didn’t bother him anymore as he dropped back to pass or scrambled whenever the pass rush was coming.
He also completed 74 percent of his passes for 261 yards and two touchdowns.
But his most crucial pass came in overtime after both teams tried to score but failed.
Facing fourth-and-one on their 32-yard line, Burrow made an audible and initially couldn’t find any open receivers.
Bengals TE CJ Uzomah said Joe Burrow wanted to run the fouth-down play in practice earlier this week. Said they they re-did the rep because of something in Uzomah's route. "In three years, I've never gotten that ball. It's a good thing that we did it again."
— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) September 12, 2021
Burrow pulled through in the clutch, and it won’t be the last sighting of his heroics.
With his legend continually growing, it won’t be long before the Bengals consistently make the postseason.
That prospect alone will get long-suffering Bengals fans pumped up.