CLEVELAND – There have been many top-notch quarterbacks coming through FirstEnergy Stadium to roll a Browns defense, convert important third downs, and lead to a win.
Too many Browns fans will tell you before listing them, some with specific dates of their own personal nightmares.
Joe Burrow was almost the last to join that list on Thursday night, and he looks like he has an excellent chance to do so in the years to come. Burrow became the first rookie to throw more than 60 times in a game and not have had an interception since at least 1
The other quarterback on the field was sure to be impressed.
“I didn’t get a chance to see him last week, but I’ve heard the rave reviews. I could tell,” said Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield. “It’s true, the hype with Joe is real. I thought he played very well. Just to be critical, to keep the games going and take care of the ball. I thought he did a great job.”
“It’s always good to see another young man come in and take over. And obviously this team loves him. They follow him and he leads them.”
Burrow fell back 64 times and was pressurized on 32.8% of those drops, losing three sacks and a fumble. However, he could have been fired far more times if he hadn’t had the ability to escape and extend the game or deliver passes in time before the onslaught hit.
In the midst of the collapsing bag, Burrow stood tall all night, identifying the open man and connecting with him. Cincinnati converted eight of 18 third down attempts and was a perfect 5 for 5 on the fourth down, a wonderful feat for a rookie passerby.
“I thought he did a good job,” said Bengal coach Zac Taylor afterwards. “He gave us a chance. We just came up short.”
Cleveland’s defense, by the way, consists of Myles Garrett, who forced the fumble and was responsible for nine of the 21 recorded pressures on Thursday night. Even so, Burrow never seemed alarmed and fought to the end, even though the game was all but out of reach. Within the last two minutes of the game, he connected to Tyler Boyd on a touchdown pass.
“Losing isn’t much fun. This may be the only time in my sporting career that I’ve lost two games in a row,” said Burrow. “Doesn’t feel very good. I know the people there hurt and we’ll get back to work tomorrow and try to get this thing right. Losing is unacceptable to me, for everyone in there to coach Taylor, to everyone in this organization. So we just have to fix it. “
Burrow’s desire to win can be seen in the press box. Far too often a first-round quarterback takes the field for his prime-time debut and is baffled and melted by a massive rush of passers-by Cleveland possesses for the nation to watch. The Browns had a lot of success with defensive stunts and twists all night. Porter Gustin met Burrow well after being undressed by Garrett. But none of that seemed to affect him almost as much as his second loss in so many professional games.
For Burrow, things are only just beginning; He has so much ahead of him of his promising career. And as Thursday night showed, it will be really fun to watch – as long as Cincinnati doesn’t subject it to the same fate as previous promising passers-by.