Cincinnati Bengals: 3 bold predictions for Week 3 vs. Steelers

Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Bengals
Ja’Marr Chase #1 and Joe Burrow #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

2. Joe Burrow transforms back into….Joe Burrow

It’s been an uneven first two games of Joe Burrow’s second season. Considering the severity of the injury he sustained in 2020, we should probably just be thankful Burrow is on the field and not on the PUP list.

That being said, it’s hard to not be encouraged by his play thus far. Despite three very uncharacteristic interceptions on three consecutive throws, (I’m considering that an outlier. When does that EVER happen?) Burrow has shown poise, touch, and an arm that, to the eyeball test appears actually stronger than last year.

It could be argued that Zac Taylor’s less-than-stellar play calling, along with the less-than-stellar protection from the line and backs, has actually held Burrow back somewhat. I believe that to be the case, and I also believe this is the week Joe Burrow explodes back onto the scene as a top 10 quarterback.

Burrow has been gradually getting his feet back beneath him, but it’s no coincidence that when put into two-minute or catch-up mode, the former LSU gunslinger has excelled. Burrow is a rhythm passer that needs quick dropbacks and quick releases.

When Burrow is asked to take 7-10 step drops and wait for his routes to develop downfield, considering the deficiencies across the line, he naturally struggles. This is the week Taylor and his staff finally figure out how to unleash Burrow and get this offense clicking. Lots of 3-5 step drops, quick slants, and screens will open up the deep game, as well as keep the rush off the quarterback, at which point Burrow will take advantage of the toys at his disposal.

Mark this as the week moving forward, that we all look to as the turning point, not only in the Bengals season, but in Joe Burrow’s maturation as a quarterback, and Zac Taylor’s maturation as a head coach.