Johnny’s Surprise of the Week: Joe Burrow

Photo via Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sport

When the Tennessee Titans trekked into Cincinnati this past Sunday, many expected a win for the Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry-led squad. For the playoff-caliber Titans, the team looked to dominate the ground, the clock and the air against the rebuilding Cincinnati Bengals. 

Instead of rebounding from a 27-24 loss to Pittsburgh Steelers, though, Tennessee was caught off guard and eventually faltered to the Bengals, 31-20. Instead of dominating the clock, they were the ones who were dominated, as Cincinnati’s time of possession of 35:57 easily outpaced Tennessee’s 24:03 time of possession. 

The reasons for the loss were aplenty. Time of possession, as mentioned, was one. So was the offense, who only scored seven points in the first half. Then there was a shaky secondary. 

Another reason, though, donned the orange and black. 

Joe Burrow says hello.

Over the entirety of the game, the first-overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft went 26/37 for 249 yards and two touchdowns. Although the numbers were not as eye-popping if you compared it to a Madden NFL 20 online match, the numbers were more than good enough to keep the potent Tennessee offense off of the field. After all, Cincinnati’s third down efficiency (10-15) and passing first down prowess (16 passing first downs compared to Tennessee’s 13) helped keep the ball in the Bengals’ hands (or paws?). Thus, it was no surprise that Cincinnati’s 249 passing yards at the hand of Burrow were more than Tennessee’s 223 passing yards from the arm of Tannehill. 

Regardless of the box score numbers, Cincinnati, no pun intended, brought home the win. More importantly, the team continued to glisten in the fact that they might have found their next franchise quarterback. 

Joe Burrow says hello.

Among all qualified NFL quarterbacks through Week 8, Burrow currently leads the field in passes completed (221) and pass attempts (330). Additionally, Burrow is third among all NFL quarterbacks in passing yards (2,272) and seventh in passing yards per game (284.0). The numbers only stand out even more when noticing how Burrow is second among all quarterbacks in sacks (28). The culprit, of course, comes from a rebuilding-but-still-porous offensive line. The stat line from the Tennessee game, however, stands out even more, as Burrow was sacked zero times during the game. 

Should Burrow get more protection from his line, the sky could potentially be the limit. The sky, in fact, could even be higher than other homegrown Bengals’ quarterbacks drafted in the first round. 

In Cincinnati’s franchise history, dating back to the AFL, the team has drafted six first-round quarterbacks: Greg Cook (1969), Jack Thompson (1979), David Klingler (1992), Akili Smith (1999), Carson Palmer (2004) and Burrow (2020). In their first year of action, Palmer currently leads the other signal-callers in games started (13), passing yards (2,897), passing attempts (432) and touchdowns (18). Burrow, however, currently possesses the best completion percentage (66.97%) and quarterback rating (91.4) of the six. This is despite the fact that Burrow has, again, been sacked 28 times, which is only behind Cook’s 29 sacks in 11 games started. Should Burrow remain healthy, the soon-to-be 24-year-old would be projected to finish ahead of Palmer in terms of games started (16), passing yards (4,544), passing attempts (660) and touchdowns (22).

Although Burrow is likely to completely outpace the other Cincinnati quarterbacks in sacks, the weak offensive line for the young quarterback should only make Burrow’s current rookie season stand out even more when compared to the quintet. The production, more than likely, will easily be the most ever for a first-round Cincinnati quarterback in their first year of action. 

The Titans, despite expecting a win this past Sunday, were met with a shocking loss. The loss, from the varying factors, can all be summed back to one reason. 

One potential franchise quarterback. 

One quarterback on pace to produce efficiently despite certain factors working against him. 

Joe Burrow says hello. 

Published by John Crane

I am originally from Alexandria, Louisiana, but have lived in South Carolina, Texas, Arizona and now Colorado. After recently graduating from Northern Arizona University, I am now continuing to sharpen my journalistic craft through writing, radio and podcasting. My dream is to become a sports reporter or broadcaster.

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