Burrow: Bengals in a ‘great spot,’ but ‘still haven’t played our best game’

CINCINNATI -- Joe Burrow remembers how important it was to help keep his 2019 team at LSU focused in the middle of a breakout season.

While the Cincinnati Bengals are experiencing some newfound success this year, Burrow said it’s difficult to compare to the Tigers’ national championship run he quarterbacked. However, he can take some lessons from that experience and apply it.

Just like LSU kept its momentum going through an undefeated season, the Bengals will look to maintain theirs week to week. Coming off a dominant win at Baltimore, theyhead back on the road to face the New York Jets on Sunday.

“It’s just focus on getting better every day,” Burrow said Wednesday when asked about the key to maintaining momentum with LSU in 2019. “We were always chasing the perfect game, and that’s not really realistic to achieve. But you’re always chasing that, and we’re talking about it in there (the locker room) right now. We still haven’t played our best game. We’re 5-2, we’re in a great spot, but we’re not satisfied. We’re gonna keep going, keep coming to work every single day to get better. And, the sky’s the limit for us.”

That’s the great thing about chasing a perfect game. It doesn’t exist so one can never be satisfied, Burrow said.

The Bengals were pretty darn close to playing a perfect second half Sunday at Baltimore as they closed out a 41-17 win by scoring 28 unanswered points and causing the Ravens to surrender with seven minutes left when they took Lamar Jackson out of the game. Baltimore opened the half with a touchdown drive before the Bengals went on their run, and in the middle of that stretch, Burrow threw one bad interception early in the fourth quarter.

Otherwise, it was a picturesque way to end a business trip, and for Burrow it was a career day, as he threw for 416 yards and three touchdowns and took just one sack against a heavy-blitzing Ravens defense that got to him for seven sacks and 15 hits last year in his first career meeting at Baltimore.

“I thought I did a really good job of when I was pressured of making subtle movements in the pocket to stay away from sacks and continue to make plays,” Burrow said. “I’ve always prided myself on being quick in a phone booth, and that’s kind of what was missing in the beginning of the year. And now, it’s six weeks more of rehab that I was able to do that has allowed me to feel comfortable in that situation.”

Burrow has shown steady progress over the course of the first seven games, as one might expect for someone coming off major knee surgery last December. He struggled under heavy pressure early on, taking nine sacks over the first two games, but looked as comfortable as he has in the pocket during his young NFL career Sunday.

The Jets, although struggling to win games, will be looking to test that with two dominant interior linemen, as defensive tackles Quinnen Wiliams and John Franklin-Myers account for 6.5 of the team’s 14 sacks.

“They’re really, really good up front,” Burrow said. “Two inside guys are two of the best in the league at pushing the pocket so we’re gonna have to be stout up front. They do a good job of limiting explosive plays and keeping everything in front of them. So, we’re gonna have to be patient and take our opportunities when they’re available.”

Burrow doesn’t seem to need much patience when it comes to attacking defenses on the deep ball to former LSU teammate Ja’Marr Chase. Opponents haven’t been able to figure out how to stop Chase, and the duo has combined on four touchdown passes for more than 30 yards, including a beauty of a play Sunday that Chase turned into an 82-yard touchdown after spinning away from a trio of tacklers at the point of the reception on a short pass.

Chase finished the game Sunday with 201 yards on eight catches to bring his season total to 754 yards receiving, and he was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week on Wednesday.

“I hope they keep doing that (not doing more to take away Chase),” Burrow said. “I hope they do. He’s just gonna keep making plays if they do. That’s what he does. … He just does so many things well, that he’s hard to cover and hard to defend.”

Burrow said he has noticed the increase attention on the team overall after last week’s win but wants to keep giving outsiders reasons to talk about the Bengals.

“It was a big win for us and the team, the organization and the city, but it doesn’t mean anything if we don’t go out there and win this week and the week after that and stack these wins and keep getting better,” Burrow said. “If we go 0-10, no one will care that we beat Baltimore in Week 7.”


Bengals at Jets, 1 p.m., CBS, 700, 1530, 102.7, 104.7

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