We knew Joe Burrow wasn’t going to be under center when the Cincinnati Bengals welcome the New York Giants into town on Sunday. The reigning No. 1 overall pick and standout rookie suffered a devastating season-ending injury a week ago, tearing both his ACL and MCL, and is set to undergo reconstructive surgery with a recovery period of eight to nine months, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
We also thought we knew who would be replacing Burrow for the 2-7-1 Bengals. Ryan Finley, a 2019 fourth-rounder out of NC State and the team’s backup signal-caller for this entire season, was the man called upon to replace Burrow in his absence a week ago.
However, there’s since been a plot twist.
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Bengals Opt for Brandon Allen Over Ryan Finley
Rather than roll with Finley in Week 12, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo has reported that the Bengals are planning on starting Brandon Allen at quarterback vs. the Giants.
Allen, 28, was a sixth-round pick back in 2016 for the Jacksonville Jaguars. He started three games for the Denver Broncos in 2019, going 1-2 and amassing 515 passing yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions while completing just 46.4% of his passes. Allen also spent time with the Los Angeles Rams from 2017 through 2018.
Interestingly enough, Allen hadn’t even been on the Bengals’ active roster until a few days ago. The former Arkansas standout was only elevated from the team’s practice squad as a corresponding move to placing Burrow on injured reserve.
Allen was a highly productive signal-caller during his days in the SEC. The Fayetteville, Arkansas, native finished his Razorbacks career with 7,463 passing yards and school-record 64 passing touchdowns.
The Bengals not sticking with second-year pro Finley raises the question of why he was the team’s No. 2 QB in the first place. It’s not like he blew the socks off his coaching staff in spot duty a week ago. Finley completed just 3 of 10 passes for 30 yards and an interception against Washington.
As a rookie in 2019, Finley started three games, completing 47.1% of his passes for 474 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
No Burrow, No Mixon
Not only will the Bengals be down their promising signal-caller come Sunday, they’ll also once again be without the services of starting running back Joe Mixon.
Mixon, who has not appeared in a game since Week 6 due to a foot injury, was placed on injured reserve ahead of last weekend’s game, meaning he will miss at least the next two contests.
Veteran Gio Bernard has served as the team’s lead-back in Mixon’s absence but has left much to be desired. Bernard has topped 37 rushing yards just once over the last four games while totaling just 48 rushing yards over his last two contests.
In other news, ESPN’s Adam Schefter has reported that the Bengals have placed wide receiver Auden Tate and guard/center B.J. Finney on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Tate has notched 150 receiving yards in 2020. 10 of his 14 receptions on the season have come within Cincinnati’s past three games.
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