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Matt’s Take: It’s time to let Joe Burrow get healthy; Reds season comes to an end


By Matthew McAdow
NKyTribune sports columnist

After yet another disastrous performance this weekend, the Bengals now fall to a record of 1-3. 27-3 against a poor Titans team that we have never lost to under Joe Burrow was the final alarm for me that Cincinnati needs to just let Joe get healthy. The panic button has been pushed in the McAdow household and I am afraid that it’s only going to get worse.

As far as the offensive struggles go, you simply can’t run every snap out of shotgun and remain in the pocket for an entire game. Tennessee brought pressure all night and dared Burrow to move around and it was clear to see that he still isn’t even close to 100 percent. As much as I hate to see this season go to waste, the last thing I want to watch is Burrow furthering his injury.

Positives

• The first drive, although it ended in a field goal, was the best first drive I think Cincinnati has put together this year. The offense was beginning to finally get some rhythm. It certainly didn’t last long.
• Joe Mixon continues to find holes and impress when Cincinnati sticks to the run game. I will take 4.8 rush yards per carry every game.
• Dax Hill recorded an interception along with 8 total tackles. For 23 years old, his start to this season has been impressive.
• Brad Robbins finally found his groove and punted the ball quite well with an average of 51 yards per punt on Sunday.

Negatives

• Joe Burrow just isn’t himself when injured. If he can’t avoid pressure or move out of the pocket, he has struggled mightily. It’s time that we allow him to rest, as this style of play isn’t going to win games. It’s also time we stop sugarcoating things when he doesn’t play well. If Dalton played like this when injured, people would be throwing a fit. And no, I am not comparing the two as players, I am simply stating that it isn’t a sin to say that he isn’t playing well.
• Tee Higgins now has a fractured rib and is looking to miss some time. When it rains it pours, right?
• Ja’Marr Chase is openly discussing his frustrations. We can’t have our WR1 becoming increasingly frustrated week after week.
• Our defense was horrific on third down and gave up 8 3rd down conversions.
• 400 total yards from Tennessee and time of possession was nearly 10 minutes more than Cincinnati’s. Missed tackles and penalties certainly played into this, which shows a clear lack of discipline from our defense.
• Cincinnati is now dead last in the AFC North. Our hopes of winning the division might just be diminishing only 4 weeks into the season. I keep reminding myself that we have a bye week approaching this month and how rough we started last year, but it just feels different.
• Cincinnati needs a backup quarterback and it’s time we stop putting that on the backburner year after year. We need a mobile backup that can win games if Burrow goes down.
• We no longer have a tight end threat and it has drastically changed the look of this offense. Wilcox, Hudson, and Sample simply aren’t going to get it done with Smith Jr. out.

Reds Season comes to an End

I absolutely hated to see the 2023 Reds season come to an end, as there is nothing better than Reds baseball. Missing the playoffs by a small margin certainly was disappointing, but the future of this team is in great hands. Yes, that 9-0 blown game last week will haunt me for awhile, but knowing that this team improved in terms of wins by more of an amount than other team in baseball helps with missing the playoffs. I think Cincinnati is a couple arms and a power bat away from being World Series contenders next year and I am not sure that I have said that in my lifetime. Baseball might be 6 months away for Cincinnati now, but it’ll be here before you know it and I cannot wait to watch this team contend next season.

Facts and Comments

• Under David Bell, the Reds have now produced three winning seasons in four years. If he does it again next season, he will be the first manager to complete this in Cincinnati since Pete Rose.
• Noelvi Marte ended his season with a 16 game hitting streak. Out of all the excitement from the rookies this season, Noelvi might have been the most impressive of them all.
• Cincinnati made it to the last weekend of baseball before being eliminated. Imagine saying that before the season or even after finding out we would lose Ashcraft, Greene, and Lodolo for a lot of the season.
• Spencer Steer and TJ Friedl would win my MVP award if I was to give one out. Both of them had career years and contributed to this team in numerous ways.
• Elly De La Cruz ended the season with a batting average lower than Nick Senzel.
• Will Benson had the biggest turnaround on the roster and went from struggling mightily to becoming a fan favorite.
• A healthy rotation of Greene, Ashcraft, Lodolo, Williamson, Abbott, and Phillips would be a solid foundation to begin 2024.

Matthew McAdow is a freelance sports columnist covering the Reds and the Bengals for a number of regional publications, including The NKyTribune.


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