CINCINNATI — The Bengals beat the Vikings 27-24 in Sunday's season opener. It wasn't perfect, but they started the 2021 campaign with a win.
Here are three takeaways from the game:
Joe Burrow made some special throws on Sunday, which isn't that surprising on the surface, but the fact that he did it in his first game in 10 months is promising.
He completed 20-of-27 passes for 261 yards and two touchdowns. Burrow set career-highs in yards-per-attempt (9.7) and passer rating (128.8). He wasn't perfect, but he flashed the potential that we saw last season prior to his injury.
From squeezing a ball into Tyler Boyd on the sideline to hitting a streaking Ja'Marr Chase deep downfield, Burrow's talent was on full display at the end of the first half.
That's a preview of what things could look like if the Bengals' offense can reach its' full potential.
He is Who We Thought He Was
Chase is going to be a problem for opposing defenses. There's a reason the Bengals picked him with the fifth pick in April's draft.
He's tough, physical, athletic and he has strong hands despite the drop issues he had in camp.
Chase finished with five receptions for 101 yards and one touchdown. He set the record for most receiving yards by a Bengals rookie in their debut.
Sunday was Chase's first game in 20 months and he was one of the best players on the field.
The Bengals gave up five sacks on Sunday. It's not just the offensive lines fault, either. There were times Burrow might not have diagnosed the blitz correctly.
Regardless, giving up five sacks isn't sustainable. Burrow limped off the field in the fourth quarter because he rolled his ankle.
“I just got rolled up on a little bit," Burrow said. "Then my adrenaline kicked in and I felt great. I just got on the bike, looked at pictures [of the plays], and was good to go after that.”
On the flip side, the Bengals' defensive line was dominant. B.J. Hill, DJ Reader and Larry Ogunjobi were game wreckers.
Hill had two sacks and Ogunjobi had another. The trio combined for 12 tackles, three sacks, three quarterback hits and four tackles for loss.
Josh Tupou also had a nice day. Don't look now, but the interior of the Bengals' defensive line could be a problem for opposing quarterbacks this season.
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