Joe Burrow wasn't around for any of the Cincinnati Bengals' playoff miseries of the past, and therefore he's not saddled by them.
That was, in essence, the quarterback's stance when asked Tuesday about the 31 years that separated the Bengals' 26-19 win over the Raiders and their previous playoff win.
"I tried to downplay it and all that because this is how it's gonna be from here on out," Burrow said, per the team’s official web site. "It was a great win for us. But now this is the standard for the bare minimum every year going forward."
That's the sort of confidence that should be expected of a young, gifted quarterback who lit up the league for 4,611 passing yards and an NFL-best 70.4 percent completion rate in just his second pro season. But forgive Bengals fans if it takes them some time to grasp the concept of playoff success as a minimum standard.
Cincinnati reached the playoffs for five consecutive years from 2011-2015, only to be summarily dismissed in the Wild Card Round each time. The club endured a 15-year playoff drought from 1991-2005 -- a stretch during which their outstanding quarterback was born. The Bengals' most recent playoff win prior to last Saturday came against the Houston Oilers, 41-14, on Jan. 6, 1991. A week later, they were dispatched by the Raiders.
Burrow will look to carry the Bengals' playoff momentum forward against the Tennessee Titans in the opening game of the Divisional Round on Saturday (4:30 p.m. ET, CBS). A win would mark the first time the club has put together back-to-back playoff victories since their last Super Bowl team of 1988-89. It's been a long time coming, but for Burrow, only a year too late.
"I thought it would happen last year," Burrow said. "Unfortunately, I got hurt. But we weren't super good last year. But this year, this is the expectation."