Bengals' Joe Burrow on confidence: Can't play 'scared' and win

CINCINNATI -- Call it confidence or arrogance.

Whatever the description, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow said his self-belief is necessary when it comes to beating teams when the game is on the line. As Burrow prepares for his second playoff run in the NFL, Burrow said the preparation and inner confidence is necessary to become a successful quarterback.

"You can't go out there scared in the moment," Burrow said Wednesday ahead of Sunday night's wild-card playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens. "You have to be a little arrogant to go out there in that moment and make plays you need to make."

The 26-year-old is used to playing in high-stakes games at this point in his playing career. With Cincinnati's Super Bowl appearance in 2021, Burrow has played for a championship at all three major levels -- high school, college and pro.

In January 2020, he helped LSU secure a College Football Playoff victory before the Bengals drafted him with the No. 1 overall pick. After he suffered a season-ending knee injury in his rookie season, Burrow helped the Bengals win their first playoff game in 31 seasons and first AFC championship since 1989 last season.

Burrow's third season in the NFL has been his best. Since Week 6, Burrow ranked fifth in the league in Total QBR, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Burrow and the Bengals (12-4) closed the regular season by winning eight straight games, matching the longest such streak in franchise history.

Burrow said he relishes playoff games and the win-or-go-home aspect of the postseason. "It's where you like to be," Burrow said.

"In those moments is where I kind of make my best plays. It's where I'm comfortable and these moments are moments that you remember."

Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase, who was teammates with Burrow at LSU on that championship-winning team, said Cincinnati's quarterback has a knack for living up to the moment.

"It's something he probably always wanted to be in, every big-time game he probably dreamed of being in," Chase said. "That's a moment he's always ready for, he studies for. That's what he's always in meetings for."

Burrow will be playing behind a depleted offensive line against the Ravens. Bengals starting right guard Alex Cappa, who left the Week 18 game with a left ankle injury, will not play against Baltimore, coach Zac Taylor said Wednesday. Cappa did not practice but observed drills during the portion open to the media. Taylor declined to say if Cappa could potentially return at some point during the postseason.

Cappa joins right tackle La'el Collins, who was placed on injured reserve on Dec. 30 after he suffered a torn ACL in his left knee. Cappa and Collins were two of the major additions Cincinnati made in the offseason after Burrow was sacked a combined 70 times during the 2021 season.

Max Scharping is the projected starter in place of Cappa. Scharping was acquired on waivers during roster cutdown day at the end of training camp. The fourth-year player out of Northern Illinois started 33 games in three seasons with the Houston Texans.

"[Cappa] is just fantastic at what he does," Scharping said. "I'm just hoping to go out there, play to the best of my ability each play and hopefully be there when [center Ted Karras] needs me the most."

With a win over the Ravens, the Bengals would have playoff wins in back-to-back seasons for the first time in franchise history. Cincinnati split the season series with Baltimore (10-7), losing the Week 5 matchup on "Sunday Night Football" before winning the regular-season finale 26-17.