Joe Burrow’s Week 3 performance was always likely to be an intriguing watch, especially given how weak of a Philadelphia Eagles team the Cincinnati Bengals were set to face on Sunday. Of course, we thought this one would end in one winless team earning its first victory of the season, but that wasn’t the case as the Eagles and Bengals matchup ended in a 23-23 tie after overtime.
Cincinnati displayed many of the same problems we’ve seen to this point in the season. To put it simply, there is no shortage of fixing required for the Bengals. The Bengals have tried to pull it all together at the last minute this season, only to record two painful losses, and now a tie. However, once again there were bright spots for the Bengals, including Burrow.let’s take a look at his performance.
Burrow records a personal-best showing, overall grade: A-
It was the same story all over again — Burrow putting on a solid performance, only to be let down brutally by his offensive line, and for the rest of his team to come up short as well. If you haven’t noticed through the past three games, he can take a hit really well. He was sacked eight times on Sunday.
Burrow finished Week 3 31-of-44 passing for 312 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. He also broke a record (again, but what is new, he’s been doing it since his college days at LSU), because he now has 91 completions on the season. In overtime, he was just 3-of-7, and he was sacked three times.
Those 91 pass attempts are the most in NFL history by a quarterback over his first three games. There were some underthrown balls, but they were uncommon, and even to say that is nitpicking. Burrow looks as cold as ice and appears to be the same accurate and decisive player everyone got so used to watching at LSU. His timing is good and he gets the throw off when he needs to. Put him in a bad passing situation, like he’s so often been placed into, and watch him still make something happen most of the time.
The rookie transition is always tough, no matter how elite you are, but Burrow looks and seems to feel all but totally unbothered. He’s not without personal mistakes, but with much fewer than anyone could have predicted.
When all was said and done in Week 3, Burrow had a completion percentage of 70.5% and a passer rating of 105.5. This was arguably the best performance of his rookie season, granted we are still only three games into the season and you get the impression there’s even better to come. Through the first three weeks, his play has deserved at least one win.
Alas, the Bengals are still so jumbled up in so many other places that it just couldn’t happen this time.
What Burrow had to say about his performance
Burrow has already talked about how he’s not accustomed to losing and that it’s unacceptable in his eyes. This may not have technically counted as a third loss for Cincinnati, but it’s not good enough.
In fact, the Week 3 tie is just as bad as having outright lost the game, at least according to Burrow.
“No. This is a loss to me. We didn’t win,” he told reporters after the game. “It will never be about momentum or positive experiences to me. It’s about winning… There are no moral victories around here.”
He also spoke to the power of the Eagles’ pass rush.
“Those guys are real dudes on the front line, give a lot of people a lot of problems,” he said. “They did their job today.”
What’s ahead for Burrow and the Bengals?
This is simple. Don’t fix your offensive line, and you’re not going to win. You can come painfully close and down to the wire in just about every game for the rest of the season, but that’s all the Bengals are going to get if they can’t keep Burrow from being constantly laid out on the turf.
Burrow has always been a mentally strong player, unafraid of taking a hit. But in this league, itis going to come to a point where the punishment from a defender becomes more than just something to shrug off in his head. We nearly saw that moment for Joe Burrow in Week 3 as he was laid out by a vicious hit from the Eagles defender Malik Jackson.
A quarterback can only take a beating for so long. The last thing the team wants is to put a backup in when they’re already performing at a level that is simply not good enough across the board.
Once again, the Bengals have a chance to get their first victory of 2020 next week. They face the 1-2 Jacksonville Jaguars at noon CT on Sunday in Paul Brown Stadium.