Wins are important, don’t get me wrong, but you can take more from how a team plays. The result of this game was certainly an improvement over what we have seen most of the season, but what is more important was how Joe Burrow looked in the Cincinnati Bengals’ 34-20 win over the Arizona Cardinals.
This was not a restrained Burrow squeaking out a win on the back of a great defensive performance. This was not a Burrow who had to get rid of the ball quickly because he couldn’t escape the pocket or push the ball down the field.
This was vintage Cartier Joe Burrow.
Burrow has a good amount of time in this clip, but eventually, the pocket starts to hold around him. He ducks up the middle and runs for a first down to move the chains.
This is a pretty standard play for a healthy Burrow, but not something we have seen this season.
Them: check-downs aren’t fun and exciting— Matt (@CoachMinich) October 9, 2023
Joe Burrow: pic.twitter.com/54u5SwBzk3
Speaking of standard Burrow plays, Burrow is sometimes criticized for taking too many checkdowns. It’s a ridiculous criticism, but that is neither here nor there. Check out this play.
Burrow has pressure coming from the weakside edge. He escapes it by running in a circle, rather unconventional. Keeping his eyes down field, he finds Joe Mixon for a short gain.
This doesn’t seem like a huge play, but it was really a ten-yard swing. The team faced second and long instead of a potentially drive-killing second and forever after a sack.
But of course, we all want to see deep balls to Ja’Marr Chase, and what we got was the deepest of Burrow’s career.
This was a phenomenal throw and catch to extend the lead. The Bengals need to generate more explosive plays to get back to the Super Bowl, and Burrow-to-Chase creates plenty of opportunities.
While we cannot say that Burrow is definitively healthy and will have no further setbacks, the desert air certainly did him well. If he can compete like this every week, the Bengals will climb back into the AFC playoff picture and reestablish themselves as competitors.