After falling “in love with the big play,” Joe Burrow learned during the bye to be more patient

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The Bengals had a signature win five weeks ago against the Ravens. Then they lost to the Jets, got dusted at home by the Browns, and limped into a week off at 5-4.

Since then, the Bengals have won two in a row. After Sunday’s 41-10 thrashing of the Steelers, equaling the biggest victory the Bengals ever have had against Pittsburgh, Burrow explained how things improved.

“I think we had the bye week and we were able to get away and come back focused and ready to go,” Burrow told me by phone after the victory. “We understood what we had in front of us. We understood the challenges that we were going to have coming down the stretch. After the bye week I think we had one of the top two or three hardest strengths of schedule going forward. We knew what we had to face so we went to practice and kept getting better.”

What did Burrow do specifically do to make himself better?

“Just take care of the ball better,” Burrow said. “Eliminate some turnovers. We kind of fell in love with the big play, speaking of myself. The last two games, I’ve really just taken what the defenses have given me and stat lines aren’t dotty or impressive but it’s getting the job done. That’s all I care about is W’s, and whatever it takes to get the job done.”

One thing he’s doing is realizing that defenses are now devoting extra resources to stopping rookie receiver Ja’Marr Chase. It happened on Sunday, and Burrow spotted it and fired a 32-yard touchdown pass to receiver Tee Higgins.

“Minkah [Fitzpatrick] was shading when they were playing single high they were shading over to Ja’Marr all day,” Burrow said. “That really opened up some opportunities for Tee down the field and short. That’s what’s great about our guys. Ja’Marr was just as happy to see Tee make those plays as he would be if he was making those plays and he even talked about it on the sidelines. That’s exciting. We have great guys in the locker room.”

Burrow said that he first noticed against the Ravens in Week Seven an effort by defenses to take away Chase’s big plays. That extra attention opens up the rest of the offense, including the running game. As a result, Burrow has had fewer than 200 passing yards in the last two games.

Like he said, that’s fine with him. The wins are stacking up, and the Bengals could go from last place in the NFC North to the postseason.

6 responses to “After falling “in love with the big play,” Joe Burrow learned during the bye to be more patient

  1. Burrow is a smart guy. The faster he learns how to win the better. He sees their running game making play action possible. They have such an upside. Kudos to Joe Mixon and the run game! This young team seems to be jelling at the right time! And that defense! only ten points for the Steelers!

  2. The offensive line play has really improved which has opened up the running game and play action. Also, Joe Burrow can read a defense and more often than not get them into the right play.

  3. The Steelers’ style of dirty football just isn’t cutting it anymore. Fans are tired of it and the refs are getting wiser. Hopefully, a few decades in the AFCN basement will convince them to build a better team.

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