Lance McAlister

Lance McAlister

Lance McAlister covers everything in Cincinnati sports! Host of sports talk on Cincinnati News Radio 700WLW and ESPN 1530!Full Bio


Bengals: Is this a joke? How is this happening?

Photo: Getty Images


I'll never forget the moment: Sunday, November 22, 2020...... 3rd quarter….3rd and 2.

Joe Burrow dropped to pass and then went down in a heap. He was writhing in pain. He was loaded onto a cart. His knee had been shredded.

That moment shook me at my core as a fan. QB 1 was down. Out. Hurt. The likes of Greg Cook, David Carr and Andrew Luck flashed before my eyes.

But Burrow went to work on his rehab. He busted his tail. Grinding day after day. He became the latest Exhibit A of a modern medical miracle.

He was ready for camp and ready for Week 1.

Yet two weeks into the season he's been hit repeatedly, sacked nine times and is on pace to be sacked 77 times.

Is this a joke?

This franchise was gifted a QB. Gifted hope and optimism. They certainly didn't earn it. But what did they do with this precious package? Failed it.

That November moment should have shaken this organization to its core.

But Duke Tobin elected to address the worst offensive line in the league with a 32-year old free agent signing (Riley Reiff) and a trade down for a tackle coming off back surgery that they then moved to guard, a position he hadn't played. You can't make that up.

The center (Trey Hopkins) was coming off knee surgery for a torn ACL. Two journeymen (Quinton Span, Xavier Su' a-Filo) man the starting guard spots.

The OL depth chart includes three rookies (Jackson Carman, Trey Hill, D'Ante Smith) and two (Isaiah Prince, Fred Johnson) with limited regular season experience.

The organization spent approximately a bajillion dollars in free agency the last two offseasons to address..................the.............defense.

Oh. And don't forget they allowed their best pass-protecting running back (Gio Bernard) to depart.

Is this a joke?

No. It's negligence. It's malpractice.

The coaching staff has been unable to game plan to help the issues. They appear determined to run empty sets despite the line being unable to protect long enough to throw the ball down the field. Hell, Burrow was repeatedly smacked on quick throws Sunday in Chicago. The running game can't even punish defenses spread thin.

Taylor was parsing words this week, splitting hairs between 'hits' and 'sacks'. He decried the fact nine different culprits have been to blame for the nine sacks.

Let's no forget the QB, the rookie WR (Ja'Marr Chase) and defensive leader (Jessie Bates) have each publicly voice criticism of the decision making of the coach and we are only two games into the season.

From the minute he went down that day in D.C., Burrow was going to be challenged overcoming the psychology of having his knee destroyed and was going to need help staying upright in 2021.

Mike Brown failed Burrow. Duke Tobin failed Burrow. Zac Taylor and his coaches are failing Burrow.

'Protect The Investment' should have beaten out 'Who Dey' or 'New Dey' or whatever marketing campaign the organization drew up for billboards and t-shirts..

Is this a joke?

If it is, there's no laughter. I want to cry.

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