2021 Report Card: Cincinnati Bengals Quarterback Grades

Bengals Quarterback Grades
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2021 was a magical year for the Cincinnati Bengals, led by superb quarterback play. Looking at the Bengals quarterback grades, Cincinnati has a franchise quarterback. However, they may need to find some depth. In this series, we are going to look at each of the Bengals position groups and assign a final grade based on their performance in 2021 as a whole. From Week 1 to the Super Bowl, the Bengals have plenty to be proud of and improve upon.

Bengals Quarterback Grades for the 2021 Season

Joe Burrow: A

Regular Season: 70.4% completion, 4,611 passing yards, 34 touchdowns, 14 interceptions
Playoffs: 68.3%, 1,105 yards, five touchdowns, two interceptions

Coming off of a horrific knee injury, expectations were tempered to start 2021 for Joe Burrow. Every time he was hit, you could feel all of Cincinnati holding its collective breath. Amazingly, no matter how hard the hit or the frequency at which they were landing, he always got back up; even in the Super Bowl when he sprained his MCL on the other leg.

Things started quietly for Burrow as the offense was still trying to maneuver a quarterback with one good leg. After a while, he was able to get going and do what he does: make plays. Of all of those sacks, Burrow is at fault for a good handful thanks to his ability to keep plays alive. On some plays, he tries to work a pocket that collapsed at the snap. On others, he’s able to Eli Manning-squeeze out of the grasp and find one of his many playmakers downfield. For a while, it was almost a given that a Burrow-to-Chase connection was going to happen within the last two minutes of the half, starting with Week 1 against Minnesota.

Burrow comes in at an “A” because he played at a very high level for most of the year and was even a darkhorse candidate for MVP. He led this Bengals team to their first Super Bowl in over three decades and has lit a new fire in the city. He does have areas to improve, of course. Burrow put his team in bad spots numerous times this season by either an ill-timed interception or taking a sack that could have been avoided. With a (hopefully) re-tooled offensive line in 2022, Burrow has a real shot to take a massive step in his development and make Cincinnati a legitimate Super Bowl threat for years to come.

Brandon Allen: C+

Season stats: 50% completion, 149 yards, two touchdowns

All-in-all, there is not much to say about Brandon Allen‘s performance in 2021 as a Bengal. He appeared in six games was about as inspiring as watching a raindrop race on a windshield as a child. In his six appearances, four were in mop-up duty when Cincinnati was either handling business (Weeks 6, 7, and 12) or getting handled (Week 9).

In his lone appearance of significance, Cincinnati didn’t need to win. The Bengals already locked up the AFC North. Plus, as the day went on, a win would not have improved seeding. Either way, Allen was not bad in the game, he just was not good. We can give him a pass, of course. All of Cincinnati’s starters — save for Ja’Marr Chase’s five plays where he broke the Bengals single-season receiving record — were out. He was facing the Browns starting defense. Cleveland sacked him four times and the Bengals never led.

Allen is not the worst quarterback in the league, but Cincinnati should do better if they want to provide depth. Burrow is the man. He’s the franchise. However, if it’s Week 10 and something happens while they are in the thick of a divisional race, they need a guy who can step in and finish the job. Allen isn’t that guy, unfortunately. Don’t be surprised when Cincinnati signs a veteran back up or uses a late pick for a guy with up-side.

Burrow Makes the Grade

The Bengals quarterback grades are pretty self-explanatory. There are areas of Burrow’s game where he still needs work. However, he’s also the guy who healed from a Thanos-snapped knee, overcame 70 sacks, and just straight-up could not run the intended offense due to the ineptitude of his offensive line. And he was 0.2 seconds away from hitting Chase in stride and hoisting the Lombardi. The future is bright with Burrow at the helm.

Next, we look at the position that “doesn’t matter,” according to the Twitter experts: running backs.

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