Joe Burrow Deserves to Be in the MVP Conversation

Joe Burrow saved his best game for the most significant moment of the Cincinnati Bengals season in a Week 11 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Burrow finished 24 of 39 with 355 passing yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions for a rating of 104.1. The Bengals quarterback orchestrated two drives of 90-plus yards including a critical one in the fourth quarter with 9:33 remaining to put the game out of reach. Cincinnati seems to be getting hot again at the right time, and this was a must-win game to keep their playoff hopes alive. The schedule doesn’t get any easier from here, with a divisional playoff rematch with the Tennessee Titans looming this week at Nissan Stadium in Nashville. Burrow is having the finest season of his career and is sitting at 2890 passing yards with 22 touchdowns and eight interceptions for a rating of 102.8, all while missing star wideout Ja’Marr Chase the last three games. Burrow is playing at an elite level and deserves to be in the MVP conversation.

Joe Burrow Deserves to Be in the MVP Conversation

History Lesson

Consistency is one of the most important traits a quarterback in the NFL can have. This encompasses both the mental and physical portions of the job rounded out by on-field performance.  Burrow has all three in large quantities and has routinely demonstrated these abilities since entering the league in 2020. In the third quarter against the Steelers, Burrow eclipsed 10,000 passing yards and made NFL history.

What makes this accomplishment even more incredible is that Burrow missed seven games of his rookie season due to a serious knee injury. The Bengals drafted a once-in-a-generation type player three years ago, and he just may be getting started.

A Quick Study

The maturity and patience that Burrow has demonstrated this season have also been important in the Bengals success over the last five weeks. Teams have adjusted defensively how they play Cincinnati following their Super Bowl run of 2021. This has forced Burrow and head coach Zac Taylor to be more patient in the passing game and attack the middle of the field more frequently. The Bengals screen game has evolved from last year and was on full display in catching the Steelers off guard for all three of Samaje Perine’s touchdown receptions on Sunday. Offensive coordinator Brian Callahan was effusive in his praise of Burrow this year and stated, “I’ve seen an incredible amount of growth and maturity. Because it’s not always going to be, ‘Just go out there and throw the ball all over the lot’ and then you’re going to win the game. He’s had a lot of success doing that throughout his career, both in college and in games in the NFL. But the way that he’s had to play this year, the way that he’s had to adapt and adjust, I think shows an incredible amount of growth in his mindset of knowing what’s required of the great quarterbacks in this league.”

Share the Wealth

When one of the best wide receivers in the NFL goes down, you must adapt quickly in calling plays to maximize the skill players on the field. Burrow’s rookie season has served him well in preparing to distribute the ball efficiently to get first downs and points. The Bengals coaches and his teammates trust him implicitly to get them in the right position to succeed. With seven games remaining and the possible postseason, Burrow can still cement his case for the Bengals first MVP since Boomer Esiason in 1988-89. It would be wise to never count him out.