CINCINNATI — Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow had a grueling offseason. Not only did he have to rehab his surgically repaired left knee, but he was also busy working on ways to improve his game.
He showed off some of that improvement on Sunday, which included career-highs in yards-per-attempt (9.7) and passer rating (128.8).
Burrow played great in his first game back and helped guide Cincinnati to a 27-24 opening week win, but he wasn't shy about acknowledging the difference in this team compared to the unit that struggled to close out games in 2020.
"I don’t think we win that game last year. I think that’s the difference," Burrow said after the game.
The 24-year-old admitted that finding a way to beat the Vikings, even after blowing a 14-point lead is proof that they have the right guys in the building.
“I think as a team, we just have individuals that have really put the work in and understand what we're trying to do and are really resilient," Burrow told Albert Breer. “We gave up the lead, and last year I think we would've crumbled. We started to. We started to crumble, and then guys really stepped up and made plays when we needed them to. That's winning in the NFL, and that's what we're learning to do. I love the Bengals, but they haven't been super successful the last five years. So there's a lot of guys here that have been here during that time that are just now learning how to win.”
They hope that growth carries into next week against the Bears. Burrow knows how quickly a couple of wins can snowball into a special season.
“You need momentum early in the season to gain more and more momentum—it keeps snowballing," Burrow said. "We felt giving up a big lead, coming back and winning the game and making big plays when they count, it’s going to serve us well going forward.”
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