The Cincinnati Bengals came up short in the Super Bowl, losing 23-20 to the Los Angeles Rams. It was a surprisingly deep postseason run, as the Bengals weren’t expected to go far.
Heading into the season, few people thought the Bengals would even make it to the playoffs. The Rams took the lead with 1:25 left in the game with a Cooper Kupp touchdown. Matthew Stafford and Kupp were dynamic on the final drive, as the defense couldn’t stop them.
Joe Burrow and the Bengals offense were unable to march down the field and match their score. Aaron Donald wreaked havoc down the stretch, putting Burrow under constant pressure.
"Aaron Donald's gonna make a play."
Sean McVay had no doubt AD would come up in the clutch @brgridiron
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 15, 2022
While Cincinnati came up short in the Super Bowl, it was an incredible season. They still have improvements to make, as their roster is not even close to its full potential. Burrow was only in his second season and had a terrific year. In his rookie campaign, he suffered a torn ACL and MCL. His phenomenal season yielded him Comeback Player of the Year honors.
Then in the playoffs, he took his game to a whole different level. The Bengals took down the Las Vegas Raiders in the Wild Card round, followed by the Tennessee Titans in the Divisional round and the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship.
However, they could not overcome the supremely talented Rams in Super Bowl LVI.
That being said, here is the biggest need the Bengals must address in the 2022 NFL offseason.
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Bengals Biggest Need
While the Bengals have an explosive offense, their offensive line needs a ton of improvement. Against the Titans, the Burrow was sacked nine times. In the Super Bowl, he was brought down by Los Angeles’ powerful defensive front seven times. That tied a Super Bowl record.
Improving this unit will be essential to the success of this franchise. The offense is loaded with playmakers, with Joe Mixon at running back and a great receiving core of Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd. With Burrow under center, this group is hard to stop.
Chase quickly emerged as Burrow’s favorite target due to their established chemistry from when they played together at LSU. Chase won the Offensive Rookie of the Year award and made it to the Pro Bowl. He finished the season with 81 receptions for 1,455 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Did Ja'Marr Chase have the best season by a rookie wide receiver of all time? pic.twitter.com/8S0u6kOEEk
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) February 15, 2022
The only thing limiting them is their inability to keep the pass rush at bay. This season, Burrow threw for 4,611 yards along with 34 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He had a high completion percentage at 70.4 percent, showing that he is an efficient passer.
Prioritizing signing top free agent offensive linemen and drafting some would be very beneficial. While it’s not a flashy position to fill, improving the offensive line will be crucial to the success of the Bengals franchise.
Cincinnati has many viable options, and they have a great shot at making another deep run next season. The Bengals roster is filled with young talent that will continue to blossom over the next few years. Burrow has already become one of the best quarterbacks in the league but has the potential to become even better.
It will be a challenging journey for the Bengals to make it back to the Super Bowl in the talented AFC. However, they have a great foundation and have a bright future ahead.