(Cincinnati) After Joe Burrow’s season-ending wrist injury in November, coach Zac Taylor said the Bengals had what it takes to go far, even without their star quarterback .

Jake Browning surprised by leading the club to three wins in four starts.

On the other hand, he committed three interceptions in Pittsburgh where the Steelers and their third quarterback, Mason Rudolph, won 34-11.

So it was necessary to win in Kansas City, but the Chiefs made six field goals in a 25-17 victory.

Browning did well, but the Bengals had too many weaknesses to fare better without Burrow, an ace at optimizing plays that don’t seem to be going anywhere.

The club was second to last in the league in rushing yards.

Wide receivers Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins have been dealing with injuries.

The young defensive wingers sometimes lacked cohesion.

Cincinnati (9-8) has won just once in six chances against section rivals. The victory was achieved on Sunday against the Browns, who had given several regulars a day off.

At the end of the 2021 season, the Bengals were defeated by the Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl. At the end of that of 2022, they reached the championship match of the American.

“You can’t doubt the character of our players,” Taylor said. With what they went through and what they gave this season, I am very proud of them. »

At the start of the campaign, Burrow was hampered by a calf injury. The team still posted four wins in five games before the match in Baltimore in mid-November.

Burrow then tore a ligament in his right wrist during the first half, which ended his season.

Having undergone surgery since then, he believes he will be able to make passes again in May or June.

Burrow signed a five-year, $275 million deal before the start of the season.

Chase is eligible for a contract extension after finishing 12th in the NFL in receiving yards.

There are decisions to be made for wideouts Higgins and Tyler Boyd, defensive end D.J. Reader, cornerback Chidobe Awuzie and tackle Jonah Williams, all of whom can become free agents – as can Browning.

“I think I showed I can be a starter,” said Browning, who is 27. It’s a bit strange. I estimate I’m in the top 32 at my position, and it turns out that in the club there is a guy who has proven that he belongs in the top 5. What will that be like? end result, I have no idea. »