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Make No Mistake About It, Joe Burrow Is back



Make No Mistake About It, Joe Burrow Is back

With a pair of Jordans on his feet and a seemingly-healthy right calf, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow reminded everyone who he really is.



The stats do a good job of saying it all. Burrow threw for 317 yards and three touchdowns, completing 36 of 46 passes. An interception will be docked against him despite intended receiver Trenton Irwin falling down from incidental contact.

No one’s going to remember that play. They’ll remember the moments Burrow proved he was indeed back to his old self. There were several.



 Make No Mistake About It, Joe Burrow Is back

A week ago, the Bengals’ opening offensive script was held to three points. Burrow found the end zone for the first time since Week 2 to start his big day in the desert, but not before escaping a broken pocket and buying time with his feet. He found Ja’Marr Chase for a six points for not only the first time of the day, but also of the season. More importantly, he did it in a way we haven’t seen since last year.



“Yeah, that was big,” Burrow said of escaping the pocket for his first touchdown of the afternoon. “It’s something I haven’t been able to do for the last couple of weeks. So when your quarterback can’t do that, can’t steal first downs, can’t extend the play a little bit to find some guys it’s tough to move the ball. So it felt good today I’m going to continue to get healthier so I’m excited about that.”

The image of Burrow moving off his spot transformed in all the wrong ways during the Bengals’ 1-3 start. He was moving at a fraction of his normal speed, focusing on getting rid of the ball instead of finding one of his playmakers down the field. More than anything, he was concerned with not putting too much stress on his calf.

Burrow made all of that feel like a distant nightmare in Glendale. Even one of his negative plays felt like a major positive when he evaded three would-be sackers before the fourth brought him down to stall the offense’s second drive of the day.

 Make No Mistake About It, Joe Burrow Is back

The offense stalled a bit in the second quarter, allowing the Cardinals to take a lead of their own before Cam Taylor-Britt’s pick-six swung the pendulum back in the Bengals’ favor at the half. By deferring the opening kickoff, the ball was back in Burrow’s hands to start the third quarter for the first time in three weeks. He didn’t waste the opportunity.

Burrow uncorked the longest completion by air yards in his career with a 63-yard touchdown to Chase to begin the third quarter. 58.1 yards did the ball travel with a perfect to Chase’s hands, and the Bengals rediscovered what a true deep ball can do for their offense.

If the overwhelming catharsis wasn’t completely felt after the first touchdown, it was definitely felt after this one. Burrow and Chase took the NFL by storm two years ago, one go-ball after another. Defenses have gone from heaven and earth to contain it since, and have largely been successful at doing so. Watching it unfold like old times is simply art in motion.

Then there was more mobility. To close out the third quarter, Burrow found himself in another condensed pocket with a tight avenue straight ahead to escape. A quick resetting of his feet and he was off with a burst, scrambling for 10 yards and a first down.

The very next play, Burrow did it again to make it second and manageable, even throwing in a head-first dive to avoid getting tripped up.

If this were any prior week this season, either play would’ve been a sack, adding to the futility of what the devolving offense was becoming. Moments that were surely taken for granted over the past three years. They felt like milestones, set up by building blocks from the first half.

“There are several plays at the beginning of the game that I was kind of testing it out and it felt really good,” Burrow said. “And that kind of led to some of the runs in the in the second half.”

The old Burrow couldn’t have come at a better time, not just with the season on the line, but with the defense continuing to uncharacteristically struggle. Up 24-20 in the fourth quarter, a field goal would keep the contest a one-score game. Burrow and Chase dialed up their third end zone connection of the day, another off-script red zone touchdown featuring a laser.

Extending plays? Check. Deep ball connection? Check. Normal levels of mobility? Check.

Joe Burrow being back? Check.

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