Athens’ own Joe Burrow not only nailed it on the field in his Cincinnati Bengals’ rout over the favored Buffalo Bills, but also in his off-the-field comments following the team’s 27-10 win Sunday in Orchard Park, New York.
“Better send those refunds,” the former Athens High School quarterback said to CBS on the sidelines after the game. With the win, his Bengals travel Jan. 29 to Kansas City, where they look to defeat the same team they beat in last year’s AFC Championship Game to advance to the Super Bowl.
Burrow’s advice to Bills fans was in reference to the potential neutral-site AFC Championship Game that Buffalo would have played in had they beaten the Bengals. Had that happened, the AFC East Champions would have played against the Chiefs in Atlanta, as a result of the cancellation of the Bills-Bengals Week 17 game following the on-field collapse of Buffalo’s Damar Hamlin.
The Bills’ safety went into cardiac arrest after making a tackle in that Jan. 2 contest and the game at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati. The game was subsequently halted and later canceled altogether. ESPN reported that the NFL had announced that more than 50,000 tickets were sold for the potential championship game within 24 hours of its announcement.
Instead, it’s the Bengals who will travel to KC for next Sunday’s rematch. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. at GEHA Arrowhead Stadium, with the pregame NFL Today Show starting at 6 p.m. on CBS.
Favored by anywhere from 5.5 to 6 points heading into the game against Cincinnati, the Bills were playing catch up from the start and were never able to gain any traction to overcome the early deficit.
With an offensive line decimated by injuries, and having to play on the road against an upstart Bills squad, most of the prognosticators didn’t give the Bengals a chance.
But don’t tell that to Nathan White, Burrow’s former quarterback coach at Athens High School. He knows Joe and knew that wouldn’t detract from his play — or the team’s resolve — whatsoever.
“Joe’s belief in himself and his teammates is contagious. Every time these guys walk on the field they expect to win. They have a great plan, they believe in their coaches and in one another,” said White, who served as Athens High School quarterback coach and offensive coordinator when Burrow played from 2011-2014.
White, who is now the head football coach at AHS, added that he doesn’t think the injuries affected the team’s resolve at all and that this week was simply just another game — albeit with way higher stakes — for the Bengals.
“I don’t think they treated this week any differently than they would have without the injuries. A couple new guys up front got the opportunity to play and they took advantage. The offensive line was outstanding today,” White said.
As for Sunday’s epic rematch, White gives the Chiefs’ team its kudos, but also feels the Bengals resolve won’t change much from what we’ve been seeing from them all season.
“The Chiefs are a great team. I don’t think they’ll approach this game any differently than any other. Develop a great plan and then go do their jobs. I’m sure the Bengals will be the underdog and I’m also sure that not one Bengal player or coach will feel like an underdog.”
For complete game coverage from Sunday’s Bengals win, go to our website https://bit.ly/3ZUPT2H or see story on Page B3.