Grading Joe Burrow's Week 1 performance vs. Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cincinnati Bengals
Pittsburgh Steelers v Cincinnati Bengals / Michael Hickey/GettyImages

It is safe to say Joe Burrow didn't play his best game Sunday evening against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The possibility of not playing any snaps in the preseason may have caught up to him and the rest of the team. 

The Cincinnati Bengals turned the ball over five times on offense and somehow only lost 23-20 by a last-second field goal in overtime after the Bengals missed two go-ahead kicks to win the game. Burrow threw four interceptions and lost one fumble yet still put the team in a position to win the game in the fourth quarter and overtime, but the special teams could not capitalize on it. 

Burrow ended the game with a stat line of 33-of-53, 338 passing yards, two passing touchdowns, four interceptions, one fumble, seven sacks, and six rushes for 47 yards. 

He weathered the storm in the second half and cleaned up his game a little bit but nonetheless, this one falls in the category of his worst overall game in a Cincinnati Bengal uniform. But he can only get better from here on out. 

. . Joe Burrow. C-

Joe Burrow gets a slightly-below grade for Week 1 performance

The fact that Joey Franchise still threw for well over 300 yards, threw for two touchdowns, both being in the second half, and found ways to use his legs to his advantage at times puts his grade more into the lower C range. 

The turnovers are the most prominent aspect, and if he limits just two of those, the Bengals likely win this game. But starting off the game on his first pass attempt being a pick-six just isn't the way to set your team up for success. 

He did make throws when he needed to, but in Week 2 against the Cowboys, he will see a similar talented defense. Micah Parsons, Trevon Diggs, and Demarcus Lawrence are the real deal, and if the Bengals' offensive line and Burrow do not come ready to play, they will get smacked in the mouth again. 

As the game progressed, you could see Burrow look a little more comfortable but early on, he was making uncharacteristic throws that he usually doesn't make. He was forcing passes into double coverage, telegraphing his passes, and just not reading the defense as well as he usually does. Now, it's only Week 1, and it's not time to panic by any means, but if fans struggle in similar aspects in Week 2, it could raise a few questions about the teams' lack of preparation or overall ability.

Burrow was clearly upset after the game, and respectively so. He is the type to be hard on himself and wear it on his chin. He was passive in the post-game presser and knew he made some mistakes, but he recognized the flaws within his game and the team as a whole throughout the Week 1 matchup.

Joe Burrow and Cincinnati did lose key target Tee Higgins to a concussion in the second quarter and never returned, which will make his status in Week 2 in question. You could see the Bengals red zone struggles on full display without Higgins. They lacked a playmaker who could go get the ball at the second level and over the top.

They tried it with Hayden Hurst and Ja'Marr Chase, but it didn't work out well. Hurst did have a very good game, and Chase looked like his usual self, but no, Tee Higgins will limit this offense in specific schemes. Burrow will have to focus more on Tyler Boyd, Chase, Hurst, and a guy like Mike Thomas or Trent Taylor to step up and play a vital role for the offense if Higgins is out Sunday evening in Dallas during the Bengals' first road trip of the season.

Next. All-Time Leaders in Passing Yards. dark

What grade would you give Joe Burrow for his efforts in Week 1?