Cincinnati Bengals

“We’ll come back stronger;’ Bengals QB Joe Burrow reflects after losing in AFC Championship Game

CINCINNATI — Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow is not concerned about the team’s future after falling short Sunday night in the AFC Championship Game, one game short of the Super Bowl.

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“I feel really good about the direction that we’re headed,” Burrow said after Cincinnati’s 23-20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. “We’ve been in this game two straight years — won one, lost one. Obviously this one hurts, but we’ll come back stronger.”

He said the team expected to be back-to-back AFC champs this season for the first time in franchise history but could not get it done.

“We didn’t make the plays we needed to, to win this game and they did down the stretch, and that’s what it came down to,” Burrow said.

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He believes the Stripes have everything needed to back in the same position next January, maybe facing off against the Chiefs for the third straight year.

“We expect to be back there and I think (the Chiefs) do too,” Burrow said.

He’s hoping Cincinnati can capture the No. 1 seed in the AFC and giving them homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.

“The goal’s always to have that 1 seed,” he said. “Homefield advantage in the playoffs is always such an advantage, so that’s always the goal.”

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Burrow said the Bengals’ championship window is open.

“That’s the great thing about the NFL — it’s not college where you’ve only got four years. You’ve got as many years as you want to, hopefully,” said Burrow. “So we’ll ... have a great offseason, get better as a team, get better individually and come back next year ready to go.”

Cincinnati went 12-4 this past season, clinching the AFC North for the second straight year for the first time in team history. They also beat Baltimore and Buffalo in the playoffs before losing at Kansas City Sunday night.

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