Our Joe Burrow rookie season in review rolls on today as we arrive at Week 4 of last season. At home, and playing in front of his parents, Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals finally get a win against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The first two clips we’ll look at are the same play, but the ball goes to a different place. This shows that Burrow is processing each play individually and not just assuming that the receiver that was open the last time will be open again.
Notice how the linebacker sits low on this first play. This opens up tight end Drew Sample on the deeper route for a 23-yard gain.
A few plays later the LB drops off deep, under this route. Now Burrow delivers the ball to Tyler Boyd underneath for a 14-yard gain.
This is a great job by Burrow of reading the defense and delivering the ball where it needed to go.
In the next clip, the Bengals run a play-action-pass against the Jaguars’ Cover 1 defense. Cethan Carter gets inside the defender and runs across the formation. There is nobody there, and the coverage is not far behind Carter, so Burrow leads him on the route, letting him run to it.
The result is a gain of 24 yards.
The field gets much tighter in the red zone, but Burrow should have taken a similar approach on a couple of potential touchdown throws earlier in the game.
On the first play, there is plenty of room outside of Boyd, away from the defense. If Burrow lofted the ball out there, it would be an easy catch. Instead, he throws a ball that Boyd has to adjust to.
Boyd makes the catch, but the score is wiped out by a holding call.
On the Bengals’ next drive, they were in scoring position once again. There is room to loft this ball to the corner of the end zone, but instead, Burrow puts the ball into a contested situation.
Sample needs to make this play, but Burrow could have made things easier on him. Myles Jack makes a great play, and the Bengals miss out on a scoring opportunity.
It is not always appropriate to lead receivers, and Burrow is excellent back-shoulder throws.
On the next play, Tee Higgins is running close to the sideline and the defensive back has his back turned, trying hard to keep up. This is a good throw by Burrow. Higgins has to come down with this ball.
On this play, Higgins runs the wheel. Instead of chasing, the defender takes an angle to cut him off. Burrow smartly puts the ball low and behind, where only Higgins can make the play.
Higgins needs to make this catch.
Next, Burrow scrambles and Higgins responds by taking his route deep into the end zone. Burrow throws up a ball that gives Higgins a chance, but the two rookies cannot connect.
Burrow’s ball placement is usually spot on, but there was a bit of inconsistency in this game.
On this play, he connects with Boyd for 20 yards, but the ball was behind Boyd in a dangerous position. This forced him to adjust and prevented him from being able to do much after the catch.
Later in the game, Burrow was able to connect with Boyd on the same route, with much better placement.
There were definitely some missed opportunities for this Bengals’ offense in in this game. Burrow needs to be more consistent, and he and his receivers need to get on the same page.
Higgins was still getting his feet wet this week and he and Burrow were still not quite on the same page.
Although Burrow is a rookie, he expects his receivers to process information on the fly and react like he does. This connection can take time to develop, but once it does, the Bengals will start connecting on a much higher volume of these plays.
This was a big reason why Burrow’s production sky-rocketed in his second season as a starter at LSU.