The Cincinnati Bengals took down the Minnesota Vikings at home in Week 1 because of a strong performance from second-year quarterback Joe Burrow. The same cannot be said of their first road performance.
The Bengals traveled four hours northwest to take on the Chicago Bears at a rocking Soldier Field. After entering halftime without a single point, the Bengals were able to get on the board via a 53-yard field goal attempt from rookie kicker Evan McPherson.
It was a 7-3 game in the third quarter with the Bengals driving. Burrow and Mixon were helping the Bengals move the ball. Roquan Smith dropped in zone coverage and got in front of wide receiver Tyler Boyd. He picked off Burrow and took it all the way to the house, making the score 17-3.
“He just pushed really fast. We went four to his side and he made a really good play,” Burrow said after the game of the pick-six. “You can tell that he has studied that play before and he has seen it and he pushed really fast and made a really good play.”
The Bengals retook the field, and Burrow immediately threw another interception. Jaylon Johnson watched Burrow the entire play and found his way in front of Tee Higgins for the second pick.
“They have a good pass rush. We tried to get it out quick and they knew we had a good pass rush and were going to get it out quick. They just started sitting on all of our routes,” Burrow said.
“That’s just me trying to force the ball, trying to get something going. You learn a lesson today that when your defense is playing as well as they are you don’t have to force the balls you can just kind of let the game come to you.”
Here’s a staggering fact that the announcers loved to remind fans of.
Joe Burrow didn't throw a pick in 200 attempts before the pick-6 to Smith.— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) September 19, 2021
He just threw his 2nd of the game.
The sad part is — it didn’t stop there.
Burrow, still full of confidence, took the field and instantly threw a third interception.
This wasn’t just his first game with three interceptions but his first game with even just two. It was a tough showing from the second-year Burrow as pass protection also wasn’t nearly as solid as it was against Minnesota.
Burrow is the first player since Week 3 of 2018 to throw three-straight interceptions. The last player to do it was quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was known for his high-risk, high-reward throws.
However, with their backs against the wall down 20-3, Burrow had to start playing aggressively.
Burrow dropped back four times, completing three of them for 30 yards. Then, he threw a 42-yard bomb to Ja’Marr Chase, the rookie’s second 40+ yard touchdown reception of the season.
A Logan Wilson interception on the next drive by Chicago set the Bengals up inside their opponent’s 20.
Burrow then dropped back and delivered a dime to Tee Higgins. He threw three picks in a row, had a couple of dropbacks and then dropped in two straight touchdowns. The Bears got the ball and eventually ran the clock out.
It was a wild last quarter and a half for Burrow. He ended the day with 207 yards. He was 19-30 on his attempts, totaling three interceptions and two touchdowns. He took four sacks and had a 66.2 quarterback rating.