Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow has been everything the franchise could’ve hoped for since being drafted in 2020. Burrow went through a lengthy and arduous rehabilitation process to start the season on time and full go. In Week 2, the Bengals signal-caller had his worst game as a professional. Burrow struggled mightily against the Chicago Bears with a quarterback rating of 66.2 and throwing three consecutive interceptions in a loss. The Bears were providing consistent pressure from all angles the entire game and amassed four sacks and nine quarterback hits. The hits and sacks are already piling up on Burrow. The Bengals need to quickly alter their offensive scheme and protections if they want Burrow to make it through a 17 game season.
Quarterback Joe Burrow Struggled in Week 2 Loss
The Bears have one of the best defensive lines in the NFL led by Khalil Mack. Burrow and the Bengals found this out early and often in Chicago. The offense was often behind the chains in regards to down and distance. The Bears defensive backs were also sitting on routes early on with the questionable playcalling of short and intermediate routes. Ja’Marr Chase noted, “We waited too last minute to take shots”.
"We waited too last minute to take shots."
— Jeremy Rauch (@FOX19Jeremy) September 20, 2021
The absence of any semblance of a deep passing threat and running game just neutered this offense and played right into the Bears wheelhouse of what they do best. Couple this with Burrow clearly not seeing the field well and the pressure made for a long day in the windy city.
Take the Shots
The Bengals have quite the dilemma on their hands in regards to offensive play-calling. They are trying to protect Burrow with more running plays and quick and intermediate passes. Burrow really excels and is best out of empty sets. This crossroads leaves head coach Zac Taylor scrambling to find an offensive identity that will both produce points and keep Burrow healthy for the duration of the season. The revamped offensive line just can’t hold up against solid pass rushers thus far. The best way to help both the offensive line and the play-calling might be to call deep shots early on in games. The Bengals offense has playmakers that can win one on one matchups in Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd. This forces teams to respect passes over the top which in turn opens up the short and intermediate routes and the running game.
The one aspect the Bengals loved the most about Burrow coming out of LSU was his mental resiliency and leadership. Burrow has faced adversity many times in his career dating back to his short time at OSU. Every time a roadblock has come his way, he’s attacked it 100% and prevailed on top. The Bengals need to help him out too by maximizing what he does best in a way that is sustainable. The team knows he’ll learn from this game, put it in the back of his mind, and use it to propel him forward, most certainly for the better.
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