Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow optimistic about future despite AFC Championship loss
Sunday's game saw Harrison Butker kick a 45-yard field goal with three seconds remaining to end Cincinnati's hopes of a second successive Super Bowl appearance. "I feel great about the direction we're headed," Burrow told reporters following the defeat. "That's the great thing about the NFL over college, you don't just have four years. We'll come back, have a great offseason and get better as a team and individually." After missing a large part of his rookie season through injury, the last two years have seen Burrow lead the Bengals to consecutive AFC North titles for the first time in franchise history. "The expectation is always to be in the Championship game with an opportunity to win," Burrow said. "We have the players and coaches, as well as the front office, to put us in that position going forward. We've been in this game for two straight years, obviously this one hurts but we'll come back stronger. "We'll be back next year ready to go." The Bengals endured a spell of five years without a winning record before last year's Super Bowl run but the addition of Burrow and superstar wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase, as well as the resurgence of a dominating defense, means the Ohio team are primed for more deep playoff runs in the coming years. "The goal is always to have that one seed; playing at home in the playoffs is such an advantage. We'll be back next year trying to get it. "You learn from every loss, just like every win. We'll watch the film, make our corrections and get better as we head into the offseason with a little extra time compared to last year. We can use that to get our bodies right and prepared for next year." Burrow and the Bengals offense struggled to find rhythm throughout Sunday's loss, with the Chiefs penetrating a banged-up offensive line to produce a sack on five occasions. Seven-year veteran Chris Jones was the standout performer on the Chiefs defensive line, earning his first two career postseason sacks in a tyrannical performance that also featured three tackles for loss and five quarterback hits. "Kansas did a good job of creating one-on-one matchups up front to help their guys win," Burrow said to reporters. "(Jones) is so good man. He makes it so hard on you; he's big, physical and really understands what you're trying to do to them up front. You have to give the Chiefs credit: they had a really good rush plan and were able to let their big-time pass rushers get to work."
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