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Chalk Talk: Joe Burrow vs. Ravens

A look at key plays from Burrow’s Week 5 matchup with Baltimore.

In the Cincinnati Bengals’ Week 5 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens, Joe Burrow saw a top-level NFL defense for the first time.

Baltimore defensive coordinator Wink Martindale sent a lot of looks at Burrow that he was seeing for the first time. This caused the rookie quarterback a lot of problems, but you could see his growth as the game went on.

1st Clip

Here, Burrow recognizes that the Ravens are sending more than the protection can handle, but it is too late to audible. He tries to escape the pocket, but unable to do so, he throws the ball away.

2nd Clip

On this play, Burrow flushes out the blitz pre-snap and has time to check to a different play. Unfortunately, the pocket still collapses, and Burrow is forced to scramble. He does an excellent job of finding his outlet throw to running back Joe Mixon, turning it into a positive play.

3rd Clip

The Ravens had three potential pass-rushers head up or to the left of center Trey Hopkins on this play, which the Bengals could handle without Mixon, but on the other side they had four potential pass rushers and with tight end Drew Sample releasing into a route, they only had two blockers.

Burrow should have changed the protection to allow Mixon or Hopkins to help out on the right side. Since he didn’t, No. 32 was able to rush up the B-gap unopposed for the sack.

4th Clip

In this clip, Burrow recognizes the blitz and changes the play. Since the slot corner is blitzing, he quickly gets the ball to Tyler Boyd in the flat.

This was a great play.

5th Clip

In this clip, Baltimore only rushed three players, but they were not the three that Burrow and the offensive line were expecting. As a result the pressure was on Burrow quick. He threw off of his back foot, lofting the ball over the head of A.J. Green and into the arms of the Ravens defense.

6th Clip

Once again the Ravens show pressure here, but a few players drop off. This time the protection holds, and Burrow zips the ball in between the Ravens’ defenders, finding Tee Higgins for a first down.

7th Clip

On both sides of this formation, the Bengals ran a vertical route on the inside and a hitch with the outside receiver.

If you look at the top of the screen, you can see how the Ravens want to defend this. The underneath defender gets wide to the hitch and the corner runs vertical outside of the seam route.

On the bottom of the screen, the underneath defender backpedals, and doesn’t get wide. Burrow recognizes this and quickly gets the ball out to the hitch. This is excellent recognition by Burrow as he defeats the Raven’s zone blitz.

8th Clip

Here the pressure gets to Burrow, but he stands and delivers a deep out to the field. This is a long throw under pressure, and it takes a lot of arm strength to pull it off.

Burrow makes a great throw.

9th Clip

Again, Burrow faces pressure on this pass, but he shows poise and throws a great ball.

This game was a huge challenge for Burrow. He certainly struggled at times, but you could see him grow as a quarterback as the game went on.

It is a shame he didn’t get a second shot at the Ravens in 2020, but it will be a matchup to look for in 2021.