Sam Greene/The Enquirer/USA TODAY NETWORK
There is no doubt that Joe Burrow is already one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL today. Though he’s still only 26 and in his third season, the Iowa native has already led his team to two AFC Championship games and a Super Bowl.
However, Burrow’s biggest detractors are quick to point out how often the former LSU star was fired in his young career. He was sacked a total of 124 times in 42 regular season games, an average of nearly three per game. On average, Burrow was sacked for 7.5% of his dropbacks.
It’s certainly a concern, but of course, the Cincinnati Bengals’ offensive line is also partly to blame, as they’ve suffered multiple injuries, including starting left tackle Jonah Williams.
Now, as the Bengals prepare to face the Kansas City Chiefs for the second time in the AFC Conference Championship, many may be curious to know that Burrow has actually done quite well against the top seed in the AFC.
Related: Cincinnati Bengals’ Joe Burrow has intriguing approach ahead of AFC Championship Game
The Kansas City Chiefs don’t have the recipe to slow down Joe Burrow
In Week 12, Burrow was sacked just once as he completed 80% of his passes for 286 yards and two touchdowns in a three-point win over the Chiefs. In last year’s playoff matchup, Burrow was also sacked just once as he threw for 250 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in another three-point game win.
In other words, the bosses haven’t had nearly as much success when it comes to firing Burrow. Because?
Kansas City Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo thinks he knows why. He says it’s thanks to Burrow’s incredible pocket awareness, but we’ll let his words tell the story.
“Yes, when you look at it, it’s just — the word that comes to mind is elegant,” Spagnuolo said in his Thursday press conference. “He never panics in his pocket. It looks like he has like six eyeballs around his head. Seriously.”
Kansas City Chiefs DC Steve Spagnuolo on Joe Burrow’s defense (H/T at Pro Football Talk)
Are you eyeballs around his head? This is new. This quote is one you’d expect to hear about Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers, you know, two of the most accomplished QBs in the NFL. Instead, we’re talking about a third-year pro. But, as coach Spags put it, Burrow is ‘elite’.
In a matchup that is sure to feature plenty of fireworks between Patrick Mahomes and Burrow, seeing how much pressure Kansas City gets to put on Burrow may just be the deciding factor. Based on their previous efforts, bosses may need to get creative to get the edge, at least in the trenches.
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