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How Joe Burrow split up targets in first game vs. Steelers

Burrow continued to trust his receivers, but the connection just wasn’t there in Week 10.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers entered Week 10 as the league’s only undefeated team, and they left it that way. At home, Pittsburgh put it on a seemingly helpless Cincinnati Bengals, beating them 36-10.

Coming off just his second game without a turnover, Burrow had been hot, until he met one of the league’s best defenses.

Burrow barely completed over 50 percent of his attempts, ending with 21 completions on 40 attempts. Burrow had one touchdown, no interceptions, and finished the game with 213 yards.

Unlike usual, it was second-round rookie Tee Higgins who was the team’s leading receiver. He had himself a day. Higgins ended one yard shy of the game’s most. With 115 yards, 7 receptions and a touchdown, Higgins went off.

That said, typically it’s either Tyler Boyd or A.J. Green that come in as Burrow’s favorite target. As we saw almost a decade ago with Andy Dalton and A.J. Green, the connection between the two rookies is growing stronger.

As for Boyd and Green, they’re far from forgotten. Higgins might have had nine targets, but Boyd was right behind him with eight. Green had five targets without a single reception. At least Boyd got on the board, hauling in six catches for a lowly 41 yards.

Giovani Bernard also got quite a bit of work as the dump-down option. He had seven targets, taking in four receptions. Bernard is a great option with Mixon out, but another note that should be touched on is how often Burrow was hurried.

When the game ended, the box score showed four sacks for the Steelers and zero for the Bengals. The difference in the two offensive lines may not have decided the game, but it certainly was a factor.

That said, here’s how the breakdown went for targets on the Bengals roster — as it turned out to be much more than just the four mentioned.

  • Tee Higgins: 9
  • Tyler Boyd: 8
  • Giovani Bernard: 7
  • A.J. Green: 5
  • Auden Tate: 4
  • Drew Sample: 2
  • Mike Thomas: 2
  • Samaje Perine: 1