Joe Burrow putting emphasis on big plays, hopes to connect this week against Eagles

James Rapien

CINCINNATI — Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow has thrown the ball more than anyone expected in his first two games.

The rookie signal-caller has thrown 97 passes in two weeks, which includes 61 attempts in Week 2 against Cleveland. It's the second-most passing attempts in Bengals history. He also set the NFL rookie record for most completions in a game (37) against the Browns. 

Despite having some success through the air, the Bengals offense has struggled to push the ball down the field. Burrow is 1-for-12 on passes of 20 or more yards. His lone completion was a 23-yard touchdown to tight end C.J. Uzomah.

Burrow is averaging just 5.2 yards-per-attempt, which is last in the NFL. He's focused on getting in sync with his weapons this week in hopes of creating some explosive plays this Sunday against the Eagles.

“That’s something that’s an emphasis for me this week, is just getting that right,” Burrow said on Wednesday. “We’ve also just played two styles of defenses that don’t give up big plays and keep everything in front of you and make you check it down and make you work down the field. But we’ve also missed some opportunities to put the ball down the field. We are gonna get more opportunities. We just have to connect on them.”

An offense that has A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, John Ross and Joe Mixon should be able to produce big plays, but that hasn't been the case. The Bengals have had to be patient on offense and slowly move the ball down the field. 

"A.J. has probably had four practices leading up to that last game," head coach Zac Taylor said. "It will be good for anybody, whether you're an All-Pro player or not, to be able to get on the field, get that rhythm and communication with the quarterback. We're only going to improve in that area. I can promise you that. Those guys are doing a great job of addressing it."

The Eagles defense has allowed seven plays of 20 yards or more. They've allowed 64 points in two games, which is 26th in the NFL. 

The Bengals want to push the ball down the field and take advantage of their weapons, but they aren't going to force it. 

"There's ways to attack and you have to take advantage when they do give you opportunities to push the ball down the field," Taylor said. "At the same time we're going to take what the defenses gives you. Especially in the last game there was a lot of soft coverage that we felt like we could get completions to move the ball. We scored points on six of the nine possessions so we're not going to just push the ball down the field for the sake of doing it when you've got some tough looks."

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