CINCINNATI — No fans at Paul Brown Stadium to watch the dawning of the Joe Burrow era on Sunday meant there were that many more drinks spilled and remote controls thrown as a game-winning touchdown pass was downgraded to an overtime-forcing chip shot and then reduced again to a blotting out of sunshine, happiness and hope.

Randy Bullock’s missed 31-yard field goal with two seconds remaining sealed a 16-13 loss to the Chargers and gave a fanbase well acquainted with gut punches a new way to seethe.

Burrow’s performance may not have been perfect, but the stage his teammates set for him certainly was, as they handed the rookie No. 1 overall pick the ball inside his own 20 with 3:08 remaining and no timeouts.

But what could have been the birth of a legend instead was a brutal introduction to the franchise’s servitude to the rule of Murphy’s Law.

For all things Burrow, Paul Dehner Jr. tracked his every move from the moment he…



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