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In this game, the Cincinnati Bengals jumped out to an early lead and the score was 21-0 early in the second quarter.
Unfortunately, the quarter did not end how it started.
The defense, which had ended the Indianapolis Colts' first three drives with a turnover and two three-and-outs, could not stop the passing game.
The offense, which was crisp and efficient in the 1st quarter, became stagnant and could not find the end zone the rest of the day.
Deep to Higgins - 0:45
Let’s start on a high note.
We all heard the complaints about Burrow’s arm strength during the pre-draft process.
Well, it didn’t seem to be a problem on this long bomb to Tee Higgins. The pass was completed 28 yards from the line of scrimmage and Burrow was on the opposite hash.
Higgins has to slow down, just a touch, but Burrow basically hits him in stride. This 67-yard completion set up a Joe Mixon touchdown a play later and is hopefully the sort of thing we see more in 2021, with Burrow adding Ja’Marr Chase to his pool of talented receivers.
Missed Opportunity - 1:18
In the 3rd quarter, Burrow once again took a deep shot down the right sideline. This time it was to A.J. Green.
The coverage was tighter. Green tries to catch the ball in stride, but the Colts’ defender gets a hand in to knock it out.
With the corner’s back turned to chase the receiver, Burrow threw this pass behind Green, so he could go up in the air and make the play over the smaller rookie corner, but Green doesn’t do that.
Since Green tries to make the catch on the ground, the cornerback is able to catch up and make the play.
This is the type of play that will be made in Year 2 with Burrow and his receivers on the same page.
This 3rd quarter drive ended with a field goal. Eventually, losing by four points, a touchdown on this drive could have been the difference in the game.
Beat the Red Flag - 2:06
On 3rd and 10, Burrow threw a great ball on this quick oout route, putting it where only Green could make the play, but he may have done it a bit too well. Was it a catch?
Zac Taylor wasn’t willing to risk finding out. So, he has Burrow get the offense lined up quickly and ran another play before the Colts have a chance to challenge.
Burrow does a great job of getting the offense lined up and hitting Green for seven more yards.
Tight Window - 2:31
Here is another great third-down conversion by Burrow.
There are three defenders in close proximity to Higgins. Windows don’t get much tighter than that, but Burrow puts it right where it needs to be, just in front of Higgins, avoiding the trailing defender but not too far where the two Colts players in front of him could make a play on the ball.
It was a great ball to move the chains.
The A.J Slide - 2:57
Being able to move and create plays is key for a quarterback in today’s NFL, but you also have to understand when to stay in the pocket and make the throw.
On this play Burrow scrambles, but he keeps his eyes downfield.
In a savvy move, Green slips inside the zone defender, who has gained width as Burrow scrambled. Burrow sees this and makes the throw for a 1st Down.
Great play by both players.
Poise Under Pressure - 3:24
In this clip, Burrow shows great poise, sitting in the pocket, and in his own end zone no less, waiting for the right moment to hit Green over the middle for the throw.
No Need to Run - 3:39
On this play, however, Burrow tries to escape the pocket when he shouldn’t.
The corner sits on Higgins’s out route. This means that there will be plenty of room outside of the safety to hit Tyler Boyd on the corner route. Burrow is even looking in that direction, but he tries to run.
If he throws the ball, he’d have a chance at a touchdown and it would very likely be 1st and Goal.
Instead, he is sacked, and the Bengals are forced to settle for a field goal on the drive.
Trust - 4:13
On this play from the final drive, the Colts’ blitz and the Bengals pick it up, but Burrow takes off anyway and gains a yard.
If he had stayed in the pocket, he may have noticed Drew Sample running straight up the seam, wide open.
Just like getting on the same page with his receivers will help Burrow take the next step, gaining trust in his offensive line will be huge for the young quarterback.
Game - 4:44
And as painful as it is, we need to talk about the last play of the game.
The Colts’ blitz once again and play a four-deep coverage behind it.
Burrow tries to zip the ball into Boyd between the two safeties, but the backside safety is much closer than he anticipates. The safety jumps underneath the route for the interception.
Once again, Sample should get the ball.
The tight end lines up wide to the right and runs a deep out route.
This defense doesn’t have a flat defender, so he comes open and would have been able to get out of bounds inside the 20 with roughly 40 seconds on the clock.
This was a tough loss for the Bengals. Obviously, the 21 points that the defense gave up in the 2nd quarter is unacceptable, but the offense failing to score a touchdown for nearly the last 45 minutes of the game is equally devastating.
One touchdown in the 2nd half could have been the difference in this game, but they couldn’t get it.
Burrow made some great throws, but a bad decision at the end of the game cost them big.
Another year in the offense and building rapport with his receivers over the offseason will pay huge dividends in 2021.
Also, the offensive line needs to gain Burrow’s confidence, so he can stay in the pocket and keep his eyes downfield,