Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals took a COVID-ravaged Baltimore Ravens team to task Sunday afternoon, defeating the division by the score of 41-21.
For Cincinnati, this represented the teams second consecutive win since losing to the San Francisco 49ers back in Week 14. It also has Cincinnati at 9-6 on the campaign and in first place in the ultra-competitive AFC North.
As for Burrow, he completed 37-of-46 passes for 525 yards with four touchdowns against zero interception. This represented the fourth-most passing yards in NFL history and a single-game high for the Bengals’ franchise.
Sure the Ravens were missing 17 players due to the NFL COVID-19 protocols. Even then, this performance was something else. Five hundred and twenty five yards. Just let that sink in for a second.
Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals on verge of greatness
Dominating. That’s what the young Bengals offense can be when it is in rhythm like we saw Sunday against Baltimore.
The sophomore signal caller completed 19-of-23 passes for 319 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions when targeting Ja’Marr Chase and Tyler Boyd. Those two pass-catchers have been integral to Burrow’s success as a second-year player.
All of this came within the confines of a game that saw Pro Bowl running back Joe Mixon tally a mere 65 yards on the ground. For Burrow, it’s all about doing whatever is necessary to come away with a win. Whether that’s throwing for 157 yards in a win over the Denver Broncos last week or having to throw for north of 500 yards, it really doesn’t matter.
“You know, I really don’t think about the yards too much,” Joe Burrow told reporters following the game. “Whatever it takes to win the game. Today, it took throwing for 525 yards.”
That’s the mentality a 25-year-old quarterback with a record-breaking history in college with LSU must have in order to take that next step. Remember, Burrow and Chase teamed up with the Tigers to a perfect 15-0 record back in 2019.
We’re talking about two of the best young players at their positions in the NFL. We’re also talking about two of the most-important positions in today’s pass-first league.
- Joe Burrow stats: 4,165 yards, 31 touchdowns, 14 interceptions
While Burrow leads the NFL in interceptions, his ability to throw the ball deep and take chances is what separates him from other young signal callers outside of Justin Herbert.
All of this coincides with Chase likely earnin NFL Offensive Rookie of the year honors in 2021.
- Ja’Marr Chase stats: 68 receptions, 1,163 yards, 10 touchdowns
This type of connection can help an otherwise unproven team play at a high level once the playoffs come calling.
As for Burrow and the Bengals, they really are in the drivers seat in the AFC North. This would enable a young squad to actually host a playoff game, changing the dynamics in a big way.
And in reality, it’s not merely all about the skill-position players. Led by free-agent signing Trey Hendrickson (14 sacks), Cincinnati’s defense entered Week 16 having yielded the 11th-fewest points in the NFL.
As we saw against Baltimore, this unit is far from elite. However, it doesn’t need to be with the way Cincinnati’s offense is now rolling under Joe Burow.
With games coming up against the Chiefs and Browns to close out the regular season, it won’t be easy. But if we see this iteration of the Bengals over the next two weeks and into the postseason, no other AFC team will want to play them. burrow made sure of that against Baltimore.
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Author: Vincent Frank