Joe Burrow and the Bengals weren’t at their sharpest this week in a 27-12 win over the Jets either, but they got back to showing the NFL world that they don’t need to be on their A-game to generate big plays down the field. Burrow averaged 7.6 yards per attempt and threw for three touchdowns, matching his season total through the first two weeks.
While they weren’t perfect, the Bengals still showed they can be an explosive offense when Burrow isn’t running for his life from demonic edge rushers like Micah Parsons and T.J. Watt. They now sit at 1-2 with a renewed chance to gain steam in wide-open AFC North.
The offense still sputtered in the second half, scoring only seven points after a 20-point first half, but this was closer to the unit that was envisioned coming into the year. The talent came through in big ways when it needed to. Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins both made a number of big plays to move the sticks, including a 56-yard touchdown from Boyd that featured several spins away from Jets defenders.
The most improved aspect of Cincinnati offensive attack this week was the protection. It wasn’t perfect, as Burrow was under siege during stretches of the game, but they were able to hold together their protections just long enough to look like a real deal NFL offense again. That’s progress!
The Bengals should only continue to get back to what their version of average looks like as the weeks go on — which can be a quick-strike, explosive unit simply due to the amount of talented players they have. This team just scored 27 points even while Ja’Marr Chase was largely held in check with six catches for just 29 yards and a touchdown.
Cincinnati’s defense has held up its end of the bargain throughout the first portion of the season, and finally got just enough help to get back in the win column. Not a perfect performance, but any signs of progress after the first two games went so terribly for them is a good place to be in.
Burrow told everyone in the lead up to the game that people needed to relax about the Bengals offense, and he looks right in that belief so far. The Bengals have the ceiling and skill talent to be the best offense in the league. They won’t get to play the haphazard Jets’ defense every week, but with the defenses in their own division looking exploitable, the Bengals’ quest back toward the playoffs is very much alive.