What’s wrong with the Cincinnati Bengals? Nothing a healthy Joe Burrow can’t fix.
“We’ve had rough stretches in the past,” Burrow said after the 27-3 loss to the Tennessee Titans on October 21. “We know how to come out of them. We just got to keep chucking away.”
And that’s exactly what they have done. Cincinnati put together two straight wins after that Tennessee loss and went into the bye week at 3-3.
Then, Sunday afternoon in San Francisco, the Bengals put together their most complete performance of the year in handing the 49ers a 31-17 loss, San Francisco’s first home loss since October 23, 2022.
I want this Joe Burrow play on repeat just as much as any Patrick Mahomes throw. pic.twitter.com/sC2FLvsQxI— Brandon Saho (@BrandonSaho) October 29, 2023
But the biggest difference in this game was Burrow himself. For the first time this year, Burrow is somewhere close to 100% healthy, and it showed in his play.
Burrow went out and had one of his best days as a pro, completing 28/32 passes, which stands as the second-most efficient day in the history of the franchise, behind only the estimable Kenny Anderson, who completed 20/22 passes in a win against the Pittsburgh Steelers on November 10, 1974.
Joe Burrow completed 28/32 passes for 283 yards and 3 TD, generating a career-high +17.8% CPOE in the Bengals' win over the 49ers.— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) October 30, 2023
Burrow was most productive on passes of 10+ air yards, completing 8/9 for 133 yards and 2 TD (+36.5% CPOE).#SFvsCIN | #RuleTheJungle pic.twitter.com/Tsh3tQLiVC
At one point, Burrow completed 19 straight passes, eclipsing his previous personal best of 17-in-a-row. Anderson owns the franchise record with 20 straight completions.
Burrow finished with 283 yards passing with three touchdowns vs. no interceptions and posted an overall quarterback rating of 134.8.
"Big win for us, but just one. A lot of football left to be played so we gotta build on it and keep getting better." — Joe Burrow pic.twitter.com/4F0topsA1q— Cincinnati (@CincyProblems) October 29, 2023
And that was only part of the story. Burrow was back to pulling rabbits out of his hat as he performed a near-impossible escape act in which he ran away from a certain sack and then completed a pass for a first down.
He also called his own number on at least two occasions on quarterback keepers that resulted in first downs. And he finished the day with 43 yards rushing on six carries, with a long of 20 yards.
I guess that makes it official, then. The man that many picked to be named the NFL MVP this year is back.
And with him, the Cincinnati Bengals.