Please blitz Joe Burrow.
That may sound strange considering he’s coming off major knee surgery. But in all three Bengals losses—against the Chicago Bears, the Green Bay Packers, and the New York Jets—the team was blitzed less than 25% of the time. In fact, those games were the three in which Cincinnati was blitzed the least (14.7%, 19%, and 24% respectively).
Was curious, so looked at how often Burrow has been blitzed per week:— Jake Liscow (@JakeLiscow) November 1, 2021
8: 24% NYJ
7: 38% BAL
6: 30.5% DET
5: 19% GB
4: 30% JAX
3: 31.5% PIT
2: 14.7% CHI
1: 40.6% MIN
Meanwhile, the Bengals surrendered 11 sacks in those three games, meaning, those teams were able to get to Burrow despite not throwing extra defenders his way very often.
Burrow sets himself apart from other young quarterbacks (and many veteran quarterbacks) in terms of his ability to read a defense and respond quickly. That is why he will often burn a team for blitzing him, like when he set up the game-winning field goal against the Jacksonville Jaguars:
The play that won the Bengals the game. Jaguars come out in a cover 0 look (defenders in a line) so Burrow audibles into a jailbreak screen. Those go to the perimeter receiver who happens to be CJ Uzomah. Uzomah does a great job on the screen to get into field goal range. pic.twitter.com/FO4lYF06jG— Mike (Sans) (@bengals_sans) October 4, 2021
Not surprisingly, Burrow has a far higher QB rating against the blitz than he does in other passing situations:
Joe Burrow has a 128 passer rating vs. the blitz and a 99 passer rating when he's not blitzed.— Jake Liscow (@JakeLiscow) November 1, 2021
He's been blitzed 28.3% of the time this year in total, yet 40% of his TDs are against the blitz, while 90% of his turnover worthy plays came when not blitzed.
All per PFF's charting
If you’re into fantasy football, Burrow has the fourth most points per blitz attempt:
QB performance vs. the blitz in fantasy points scored per pass attempt— Graham Barfield (@GrahamBarfield) November 3, 2021
* Kyler, Dak, Bridgewater, Burrow all balling
* Rookie QBs + Daniel Jones / Sam Darnold struggling
(data from @SportsInfo_SIS) pic.twitter.com/EbuvhxKoDY
What’s interesting is that the Jets knew this and adjusted their game plan. They saw that he threw the ball down the field against the blitz to great success, so they moved away from their heavy blitz rate on third down:
Joe Burrow averages 10.7 aDOT vs the blitz on early downs— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) October 27, 2021
that's over 3 yards deeper than the NFL average
vs the blitz on the season:
11.9 YPA & 8 TDs
Burrow's performance vs the blitz has been a huge positive for the Bengals
NYJ & their #1 blitz rate on 3rd downs https://t.co/83ctsVhPD0
So what will we see from the Cleveland Browns on Sunday? Will they rely on Myles Garrett and company all game or will they try to catch Burrow off guard?
We preview that game with the editor of Sports Illustrated’s Browns Digest, Pete Smith, in the video below:
You can also listen on iTunes or using the player below: