Joe Burrow had another rough outing and the Cincinnati Bengals are now 0-2 as a result.
Where do we even begin? All of Bengaldom is teetering on the edge of despair after Week 2 saw the Bengals lose in Dallas to a Cowboy team missing Dak Prescott. After losing on the last play of overtime against Pittsburgh, the prevailing thought was Cincinnati would go into Dallas and get right. After all, the Cowboys were stung Week 1 by Tampa, and the Bengals appeared to wake up in the second half against Pittsburgh.
What happened? It's hard to say really, there appears to be numerous timing and rhythm issues, as well as a lack of creativity from the sideline. The offensive line hasn't yet gelled, and Joe Burrow is taking too many sacks.
Speaking of Joe Burrow, is something up with him? Burrow looks subtly different so far this year. Whether it's the new line or the fact he had limited reps in camp, remains to be seen. Let's take a look at the best and worst of Burrow from Week 2.
Worst from Joe Burrow
Get rid of the ball!
Yes, Burrow is taking too many sacks from a line that has spectacularly underachieved, but how many are on him? He holds the ball waiting on plays to develop that might never have time to develop. Without watching film, it's hard to say how many sacks he took with an outlet man in the flat, but Joey Franchise has to better recognize the rush and audible, if need be, to give himself an outlet if protection breaks down.
The line is healthy, but four starters are new, including a rookie in Cordell Volson. They certainly share the brunt of the blame but Burrow has to unload the ball quicker on occasion.
Spread the wealth
Yes, the Bengals have Ja'Marr Chase, arguably one of the top five receivers in the league, but against the Cowboys, he appeared to forget that Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, and Hayden Hurst existed. If teams are going to continue to play a Tampa 2 shell to take away the downfield stuff, Burrow is going to have to start finding his underneath guys more often. He made the correction somewhat after half against Dallas, but bring them down in the first half, and take deep shots later.
Use your legs
I really hesitate to advocate more running, and I am not talking about designed runs, but there were several chances for Joe Burrow to pull the ball down and get positive yards that he passed up. I understand that Burrow is a pocket passer, and he would much rather wait until the very last second to unload the ball, but the line just isn't affording that kind of time.
Until the line gels and the pockets start holding up better, I would love to see Burrow cut his losses and take whatever yardage he can get with his legs. Oh, and SLIDE! Dallas showed a willingness Sunday to take the late, cheap shot. It's much easier to absorb those blows if you are in a slide rather than trying to fight for yardage.
Best from Joe Burrow
Joe Burrow is a tough guy. He has taken some incredible abuse his first two-plus years, and it hasn't seemed to rattle his confidence. I can't recall a game in the last year that I absolutely thought the Bengals had no chance to come back, including both Chief games.
Burrow continues to display that confidence level, even if it hasn't translated into a win yet in 2022. It will. If Burrow continues to display confidence and keep his teammates equally confident, this team should catch fire like they did last season. There's no reason they shouldn't.
Good second half adjustment
After a half that seemed like Burrow was focused in on Ja'Marr Chase, Burrow seemed to start to take a little more of what the defense was giving him in terms of just throwing to the open guy, even if it was only for a couple of yards. That's important because it keeps the rush off of Burrow and prevents defenses from just keying on one wide receiver. Tee Higgins ended up as the leading receiver mostly because of the halftime adjustments.
Should still be 2-0
Yeah, whatever, I know the Bengals are 0-2. Shoulda, coulda, woulda means nothing. Or does it?
The fact that the team offensively has come out incredibly disjointed and flat in the first half of both games aside, Joe Brrr has still put this team in a position to win both games. A long snap here, a correct call when a punt hits the scoreboard there, and we are looking at two narrow wins rather than two gut-wrenching losses.
This is the Burrow factor. You are never out of a game. Many of these close calls went the Bengals way last year, but this year so far, they haven't. Joe Burrow proved again against the Cowboys that they are never out of it. That's huge.
It wasn't pretty, and a loss is still a loss, but it wasn't all bad Sunday in Dallas. Hopefully, the offense will get clicking sooner rather than later and the team can notch their first win in a revenge game against the Jets in Week 3.