With a three-point lead and 3:19 to go in the fourth quarter, the Cincinnati Bengals had the chance to ice the game to beat the Kansas City Chiefs for the third consecutive time with Joe Burrow under center.
Since the Chiefs had three timeouts, most teams would’ve run to force them to burn them. But not the Bengals.
In first down, Burrow targeted Ja’Marr Chase out of the backfield for a nine-yard gain. Two run plays later, Zac Taylor dialed up another pass play which resulted in a scramble by Joe Burrow.
Third and five with 2:55. The Bengals quarterback delivered.
Facing a pressure look, he found Chase out of the slot whose extra effort moved the chains for Cincinnati. Even then, the Bengals kept calling pass plays. On second and four (sack) and on third and eleven when Burrow found Tee Higgins with a remarkable strike over the middle.
The Bengals quarterback stood firm in the pocket as Higgins tried to gain separation. He kept his calm under pressure and fired a laser at #83.
Don't think you can say enough about this pass from Joe Burrow. Third-and-11, game on the line, free rusher in his face. Burrow doesn't panic or try to escape and delivers a rope to beat excellent coverage. pic.twitter.com/uneTIJRplK— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) December 5, 2022
“This was Joe Cool!” yelled Tony Romo in the CBS broadcast as the camera cut to Travis Kelce nodding out of respect.
The Bengals put the game in Burrow’s hands when it mattered the most and reaped the benefits. That shouldn’t be seen as a meaningless bet. While most teams might’ve been conservative in an attempt to wind down the clock, the Bengals went for the kill knowing the caliber of quarterback they have.
Think about the Chiefs attempting a 55-yard field goal on fourth and five. They took the ball out of Patrick Mahomes’ hands and risked giving the ball back to the Bengals even though it meant they might not get it back!
Burrow looked in control of the game on Sunday as he completed 25-of-31 passes (81%) for 286 yards and two touchdowns. He finished the game with a 126.6 passer rating.
“He’s the best quarterback in the league,” said Ja’Marr Chase postgame. “That’s a fact.”
Sunday was the kind of performance that gets you in the MVP conversation. Joe Burrow is everything that we thought he was last year.
Featured image via Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports