This past season, it was hard not to notice that Cincinnati Bengals passing attack was far more effective with big plays.
Quarterback Joe Burrow and wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase picked right back up where they left off at LSU by dominating opposing defenses. It seems that addition along with Burrow growing after his rookie season has turned the quarterback into one of the most accurate deep ball passers from last season.
Here is the 2021-22 Deep Ball Project created by Johnny Kinsley.
Kinsley’s project takes more into account than just completion percentage. It also looks at how many incompletions were accurate or inaccurate as well. A ton of work went into this, so we obviously have to thank Kinsley for going through watching each deep ball again to create this data. He has also created several other charts with this data based on things like pressure, in the pocket and out of pocket. Definitely worth checking out.
Burrow ranks fifth in the NFL with an accuracy percentage of 59.01% after ranking 31st last season with 32.43%. He also had the most deep ball touchdowns with 12 on the season. Tied for second were Patrick Mahomes and Russell Wilson with nine.
A few more notable stats for Burrow here are destroying the argument that all of Burrow’s yards come via yards after the catch. His 1,099 air yards was the fourth best and only two behind Mahomes. Burrow was only second behind Matthew Stafford with 323 yards after the catch on deep balls, though, so it is a bit understandable why people have that confusion.
Speaking of yards after the catch, this is a great time to give credit to the Bengals wide receivers for helping with this change. Chase is the most notable reason for the change since most of the deep balls went his way, but Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd were no slouches in that respect either. Each of these guys are also doing a great job after the catch to get even more yards.
It is also worth pointing out during last year's offseason how many members of the Bengals’ offense emphasized getting better on deep passes in 2021. The 2020 struggles were a bit understandable given the nature of the Zoom meeting offseason. It is surprising Burrow made this big of a leap still using most of this offseason to rehab a devastating ACL injury. This will be the first normal offseason that Burrow will have, so it is exciting to see where he will be able to go in 2022.
It really is relieving to have concrete proof to point to with a ton of misconceptions still flying around about how Burrow got his stats or what his abilities actually are because he doesn’t have the arm to throw it 70 yards on a whim.
Despite all of that, Burrow is still up there with all those big names.
Now, if the Bengals are able to get him an offensive line that doesn’t have him run for his life, he could take advantage of this more.