Joe Burrow delivers another win with his brain — and with C.J. Uzomah

Jacksonville Jaguars v Cincinnati Bengals
Getty Images

The Bengals have won three games this year. Two of the victories came directly from a decision made by quarterback Joe Burrow, followed by a Burrow pass caught by tight end C.J. Uzomah.

In Week One, Burrow switched from a run to a pass on fourth and short near midfield in overtime, when he saw the Vikings defending the 50 as if it were the goal line. When his first two reads were covered, Burrow calmly found tight end C.J. Uzomah for a run and catch that set up the game-winning field goal.

In Week Four, something similar happened. Burrow spotted a zero-blitz (extra pressure, no safety, single coverage of his receivers). Burrow then changed the play to something that he believed would work.

“We better have an answer for zero-blitz,” coach Zac Taylor told reporters after the game. “Joe handled it well and calmly, got us in the right check and executed. . . . That wasn’t the play we called. That was a check from Joe.”

Taylor explained that the zero-blitz was likely a reaction to the fact that the Bengals had done well with their empty set.

“I don’t know how many empty plays we ran, but it was a lot,” Taylor said. “I don’t know if the ball ever hit the ground. They had to try something different. They zeroed us and Joe was ready for it.”

And it wasn’t simply a check to an alternative provided to him by Taylor. Burrow dipped into the playbook and found something that he believed would work.

“You guys have heard me talking about having the playbook in the back of my head and seeing looks that I can take advantage of,” Burrow told reporters. “That just comes with experience. They gave me a ‘zero’ look, and so all week I knew the defensive coordinator [Joe Cullen] had a Baltimore background. They showed some ‘zero’ on film — I knew I’d have to be ready for it in a big spot. I had C.J. out there, that’s not exactly the personnel we usually throw those jailbreak screens to, but he really took advantage of the opportunity. I had those plays in the back of my head expecting ‘zero,’ and I just got to it and didn’t really think about it.”

After the Minnesota game, Burrow said that they’d used the play in practice for two years, and that he’d never thrown it to Uzomah until the prior week, during practice. Burrow wondered whether Uzomah would have been ready for it in a game if he hadn’t previously seen it come his way. After the Jacksonville game, Burrow said he doesn’t think he’d ever thrown it to Uzomah on the play that Burrow called.

Uzomah was surprised to hear the call.

“I’ll be honest, I [did a] double take on that one,” Uzomah told reporters. “Tyler Boyd was looking at me, too, like ‘What did he just call?’ It was cover zero and we knew going in that [Cullen] was coming in from the Ravens and that’s what they like to do — run cover zero in critical situations — and Joey Franchise is just back there dealing dots out there knowing and understanding what the defense is doing. He called that play up and just made something happen. Boyd had a huge block on that one, Trenton [Irwin] came out and had a big block. [Burrow] gave me a wink after I caught it and I was like ‘This guy here, he’s reckless! . . . He is the smartest person out there at all times. . . . He’s just Joey Franchise.”

That’s great news for the Bengals. Burrow isn’t just a potential franchise quarterback. He’s a quarterback with the potential to permanently change the narrative of the franchise.

Like Drew Brees did for the Saints. Like Tom Brady did for the Patriots, and is doing for the Buccaneers. Like Peyton Manning did for the Colts, and then the Broncos. Like Joe Montana did for the 49ers. Like Terry Bradshaw did for the Steelers. One man, one player, one quarterback. His arrival sparks a transformation that turns a long-suffering team into a perennial, high-level contender with one or more Super Bowl championships.

Burrow has a long way to go to match Brees, Brady, Peyton, and/or Montana. But Joey Franchise is on his way.

21 responses to “Joe Burrow delivers another win with his brain — and with C.J. Uzomah

  1. Lets remember the Bengals beat Jax, not the Chiefs or Rams, everyone needs to chill.

  2. Kids got some stones. Good for Cincy, it’s been a while since they had something truly special to look forward too.

  3. Meyer should of kicked FG at end of half. And playing 15 yards off the ball on Cincy last drive was killer. Not to mention the VERY marginal defensive holding call on that 3rd and long sack that would of given Jax the ball back.
    Officials are determining the outcome of games for too much..

  4. Burrow has a good arm, is cool under pressure & not a diva. Really like the kid.

    Trevor Lawrence played well too but he sure does seem to be full of himself.

    My bet is on Burrow to be the more dominant of the two.

  5. It’s fun to watch the great young QB’s get better and better until they finally reach their prime. I don’t know that there are 4 QB’s I’d take right now over Burrow. The Bengals finally have a stud QB, and they’ll be able to compete. It’s a QB league, and the coaches that have figured that out are much better off. The Jaguars still think it’s the 1960’s, and they believe the word pass is a four letter word. I feel bad for Trevor Lawrence, but I expect Urban Meyer will make some changes to the way they’re calling plays. It’s tough to come in new and throw together a perfect staff right away, but Urban will add and subtract until he gets the right staff. It might take a couple years. It won’t be hard finding coaches that want to work with Lawrence.

  6. “Better than Herbert”

    Lol! C’mon man! Football IQ they’re comparable. Herberts far more talented & athletically gifted, not even close! Seen enough throws from Herbert, no one throws a prettier more accurate ball in the league! Hands down best arm in the NFL,

  7. Really starting to like this QB. I hope for Cincy’s sake he has a long and successful career. If he makes some noise in the playoffs for the Bengals Cincinnati will love him forever.

  8. Two things: 1.) Jax Defensive Coordinator is apparently telegraphing his scheme (good prep by the Bengals to identify it and plan accordingly). 2.) With only 14 career NFL games under his belt and this praise coming after a win over the lowly Jags, Joe Burrow’s name alongside some of the greatest of all time is very jarring. I am glad he’s bringing respect to the Bengals, but “he’s on his way” is a bit like the fortune teller’s had too much moonshine.

  9. Meyer should of kicked FG at end of half. And playing 15 yards off the ball on Cincy last drive was killer. Not to mention the VERY marginal defensive holding call on that 3rd and long sack that would of given Jax the ball back.
    Officials are determining the outcome of games for too much..

    —————

    Maybe on the Urban Meyer call but as for the holding it was a hold and also when they showed the replay there was a second even more egregious hold that wasn’t called

  10. This is why I love thinking QBs and game plans that allow them to read the D and adjust accordingly. Having mobility in addition to being a good/great pocket passer, not instead of having pocket skills.

  11. “Joey Franchise” has a nice ring to it.

    He will always be know to us as Joe Burreaux”.

    Go Tigers!

  12. I don’t blame Urban for going for it. Bengals were unable to stop anything the Jags did in the first half. They had no punts and were marching up and down the field, and Bengals Offense was not clicking. You go up 21-0 right there and it’s back breaking.

  13. doctorrumack says:
    October 1, 2021 at 11:51 am

    Meyer should of kicked FG at end of half. And playing 15 yards off the ball on Cincy last drive was killer. Not to mention the VERY marginal defensive holding call on that 3rd and long sack that would of given Jax the ball back.
    Officials are determining the outcome of games for too much..

    Bad calls by the officials went both ways. Shenault’s long catch was as much OPI as the one they called against Chase in the first quarter, and wasn’t called. The holding call on Spain in th last Bengals drive was bs.

  14. I agree they should have kicked the field goal before the half. Up by 3 scores at half time is much better than being up by 2 scores. This belief that you will automatically make it by going for it is not always true. When it doesn’t work, you are giving away points.

  15. Jags made the right decision to go for it at the end of the half, but they called the wrong play. Get the QB under center, either sneak or handoff to the RB. The option play from shotgun was too easy to defend.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.