Many things went wrong for the Cincinnati Bengals in their defeat at the hands of the Cleveland Browns. While some issues were predictable, others left fans wondering what was happening to the men in stripes.
After an offseason full of narratives that had everyone believing this was the year, the Bengals did not play like a contender in their season opener. They did not look like the team we last saw contending for a spot in the Super Bowl when we last saw them.
As the French say, stats don’t lie or something to that effect. In the case of the Bengals versus the Browns, looking at the numbers from the game quickly lets us know just how bad things were for Cincinnati. Here are four stats from the Bengals’ Week 1 loss that were inexcusable.
82 yards passing
Joe Burrow got off to an inauspicious start to the 2023 season. It was his worst game as a professional quarterback, statistically.
Burrow averaged 2.6 yards per attempt. His QBR, according to ESPN, was a lousy 20.4. His 52.2 passer rating was the third-worst in the league in Week 1. Among starting quarterbacks, only Bryce Young fared worse in that category and he was making his NFL debut.
And then there was Burrow himself, who looked uncomfortable throwing the ball and running out of harm's way. If he were limited due to an injury, the pass protection would appear worse because of his inability to leave the pocket and make the off-schedule plays that he is used to.
Several mitigating circumstances contributed to these statistics. The weather played a role in every aspect of the game for both teams. Also, it appears that Burrow is still dealing with the lingering effects of his calf injury. Furthermore, the pass protection was not up to par.
Nevertheless, with this type of performance from any quarterback, it is hard to expect the team to win. Deshaun Watson was the quarterback with the closest QB rating to lead his team to victory in the first week.
Despite the loss and poor statistical performance, Burrow insists there is no panic within the team.