Joe Burrow and the rest of the Cincinnati Bengals certainly expected better. For a second straight year, the Bengals will have to dig themselves out of an 0-2 hole after dropping their first two games of the year against divisional foes Cleveland and Baltimore.
Adding to the frustration of an 0-2 start is Burrow's Ravens. The injury has put for Cincinnati's upcoming Monday night game against the Rams in jeopardy.. The Pro Bowl quarterback said he tweaked his calf near the end of Sunday's 27-24 loss to the
Despite the injury and the Bengals' 0-2 start, Burrow is confident he and his teammates will get things turned around.
"We've done it before,"while alluding to last year's recovery from an 0-2 start. "Obviously, you don't want to start 0-2. It's not what we were planning. We're going to bounce back. That's what we do. That's all there is to it."
Burrow and Co. aren't the only team that is Los Angeles Chargers, who are led by Burrow's draft classmate and fellow Pro Bowl quarterback Justin Herbert, are also 0-2 after losing their first two games . Defense has been a main issue for Brandon Staley's team, as the Chargers surrendered 36 points to the Dolphins in Week 1 and 27 points to the Titans this past Sunday. Los Angeles is also dealing with the loss of running back Austin Ekeler, who missed Sunday's game with an ankle injury.. The
It's not a well-traveled road, but teams that have started 0-2 have indeed reached the Super Bowl. Four teams have overcome 0-2 starts to reach the big game. Three of those teams left the Super Bowl hosting the Vince Lombardi Trophy, proving that it's not always how you start, it's how you finish that makes all the difference.
Here's a look at the four teams the Bengals and Chargers will try to join in the history books when it's all said and done.
- Finished 12-4, 1st in NFC East
- Defeated the Bills 30-13 in Super Bowl XXVIII
Main reason for slow start: Emmitt Smith, the league's leading rusher during the previous season, missed the first two games over a contract dispute. Without Smith, the defending champion Cowboys were blown out by Washington in Week 1. A three-point loss in a Super Bowl rematch with Buffalo was enough to convince Jerry Jones to get Smith at the bargaining table and back on the field.
Main reason for fast finish: With Smith back, the Cowboys won six straight games, with Smith rumbling for a career-high 237 yards against the Eagles. Smith closed out his MVP season with an all-time performance in the Cowboys' regular-season finale against the Giants. Despite dealing with a separated shoulder, Smith ran for 168 yards and caught 10 passes for 61 yards and a score as Dallas won in overtime.
In the playoffs, Smith tallied 418 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns. He won MVP honors after rushing for 132 yards and two touchdowns in the Cowboys' second consecutive Super Bowl win over Buffalo.
- Finished 11-5, 1st in AFC East
- Lost to the Packers 35-21 in Super Bowl XXXI
Main reason for slow start: Turnovers plagued the Patriots during their first two games. They coughed up the ball four times -- with one leading to the game's first touchdown -- in a Week 1 loss to Miami. They took an early lead in Buffalo the following week before a special teams fumble set up the Bills' go-ahead score. New England later tied the score before Jim Kelly threw the game-winning touchdown in the final minutes.
Main reason for fast finish: They never completely solved their turnover issue, but for the most part the Patriots were able to overcome their miscues for the remainder of the season. New England's defense, heavily influenced by assistant head coach Bill Belichick, forced a slew of turnovers that often made up for the offense's miscues. The Patriots' offense committed 21 turnovers during the season's final 14 games. New England's defense, led by Pro Bowler Willie McGinest, linebackers Chris Slade and Ted Johnson, and defensive backs Ty Law, Lawyer Milloy and Willie Clay, forced 36 turnovers (including the postseason) after the 0-2 start.
Along with the defense, the Patriots received big individual efforts by quarterback Drew Bledsoe, running back Curtis Martin and rookie receiver Terry Glenn. Each player was named to the Pro Bowl while leading an offense that finished second in the league in scoring.
Turnovers, however, reared their ugly head in Super Bowl XXXI. The Patriots briefly led the favored Packers but were ultimately done in by four giveaways. In defeat, New England's defense did not allow reigning league MVP Brett Favre and the Packers' high-scoring offense to register a single point in the second half.
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- Finished 11-5, 1st in AFC East
- Defeated the Rams 20-17 in Super Bowl XXXVI
Main reason for slow start: New England's offense scored just 20 points in its first two games. The Pats put just three points on the board against the Jets in Week 2 before Bledsoe was knocked out of bounds by Jets linebacker Mo Lewis late in the game. The injury was severe, as Bledsoe was hospitalized to treat a sheared blood vessel in his chest.
Main reason for fast finish: With Bledsoe on the mend, Tom Brady entered the lineup for the Patriots' third game of the year against Peyton Manning and the Colts. New England dominated the game in all three facets, and would run their record to 5-4 entering a Sunday night showdown with the Rams and their "Greatest Show on Turf" offense. The Patriots lost a tightly contested game, but it was enough for Belichick to declare Brady the starter for the rest of the season.
The 2001 Patriots never lost again, winning their final six games of the regular season to clinch a playoff berth. They were the beneficiaries of the legendary "Tuck Rule" in the divisional round before upsetting the Steelers in the AFC title game. They raced out to a 17-3 lead against the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI before winning the game on Adam Vinatieri's last-second field goal.
- Finished 10-6, 2nd in NFC East
- Defeated the Patriots 17-14 in Super Bowl XLII
Main reason for slow start: The Giants defense allowed 80 points during the season's first two games. Tony Romo torched New York for 345 yards and four scores in Week 1. Brett Favre threw for 286 yards and three touchdowns in Week 2, as the Giants' season appeared to be over before Week 3.
Main reason for fast finish: Led by a defensive line that featured Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck, the Giants defense played vastly better after its rocky start. The Giants allowed less than 20 points in five of their next six games to move to 6-2 at the midway point.
At 10-5, the Giants had already clinched a playoff berth when the 15-0 Patriots came to town in Week 17. Despite having nothing to play for, the Giants played their starters and nearly ended the Patriots' perfect season. They didn't win that night, but five weeks later, on pro football's biggest stage, the Giants defeated the Patriots in the second-largest upset in Super Bowl history. Eli Manning's late-game heroics will continue to live on in Super Bowl lore.