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Joe Burrow on the First Place Bengals: 'This is Who We Are Now'

Cincinnati is in first place in the AFC North.

BALTIMORE — The Bengals crushed the Ravens on Sunday to move into first place in the AFC North. If the season ended today, Cincinnati would be the top seed in the AFC Playoffs.  

Some may be surprised about the Bengals' rise, but star quarterback Joe Burrow expects to win. Sunday's victory wasn't a turning of the tide in his eyes.

“No, it’s already turned,” Burrow told Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer on Sunday afternoon. “That chapter from yesteryear is gone and behind us. And this is who we are now. We’re a tough, physical team that’s hard to beat, and we’re going to be in every single game because of the defense that we have, and the playmakers that we have on the outside. So it’s exciting. Excited for the city, excited for the organization, but we’re not satisfied.”

Burrow threw for a career-high 416 yards in Sunday's 41-17 win. Ja'Marr Chase accounted for nearly half of those yards (201), as the star wide-out became the 11th rookie ever to top the 200-yard receiving mark.

"I can say today I surprised myself, putting up those stats–201 yards," Chase said. "It’s something you dream of, but you don’t go into the game actually telling yourself you’re about to do it. So, I just came out here and played the best ball I can today and tried to make plays.”

Chase might've been surprised, but Burrow isn't. He knows how great the young wide receiver is already, even though he's only played seven games.  

“Yeah, I knew,” Burrow told Breer, with a laugh. “I knew exactly what was going to happen. I’ve never seen anybody cover Ja’Marr. I still haven’t seen anybody cover Ja’Marr. So people are going to figure something else out, other than putting him one-on-one.”

Chase has more receiving yards in the first seven games of his career (754) than anyone else in NFL history. He's on pace to finish the season with 85 receptions for 1,831 yards and 15 touchdowns. 

He's one of the many draft picks and free agent additions that have contributed in a big way this season. From Burrow and Chase to guys like Logan Wilson, Vonn Bell, DJ Reader and Larry Ogunjobi—these aren't the Bengals of old and they know it. 

“We have another year in the system, we brought some guys in during free agency that have really helped us and then we’ve drafted well the last three years,” Burrow said. “A lot of guys have hit and are really performing for us. So we knew what we could be, but it feels great to have it show up on the field.”

Read Breer's full column on Burrow and the Bengals here.

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