CLEVELAND – There have been plenty of first-class quarterbacks to get through FirstEnergy Stadium, dice up a Browns defense, convert important third downs and roll out with a win.
Too many Browns fans will tell them before they are listed, some with specific dates for their own personal nightmares.
Joe Burrow was almost the last to join the list on Thursday night, and he looks like he has a great chance to do so in the years to come. Burrow became the first rookie to throw 60 times in a game and not record an interception since at least 1
The other quarterback on the field was really impressed.
“I did not get the chance to watch him last week, but I heard the cruel reviews. Can tell,” said Brown quarterback Baker Mayfield. “It’s true, the hype is real with Joe. I thought he played extremely well. Just to be decisive, keep extended games and take care of the ball. I thought he did a good job.
“It’s always good to see another young guy come in and take over. And that team obviously loves him. They follow him and he leads them.”
Burrow dropped back to pass 64 times and was pressed on 32.8% of those drops, producing three sacks and one fumble lost. However, he could have been fired much more often, if he did not have the ability to escape and extend the game or deliver fast passes before the rush came.
In the middle of the collapsing pocket, Burrow stood tall all night, identifying the open man and joining him. Cincinnati converted eight of 18 third down attempts and was perfect 5 for 5 on the fourth down, a wonderful achievement in itself for a rookie passer.
“I thought he did a good job,” Bengal coach Zac Taylor said afterwards. “He gave us a chance. We just came short.”
Cleveland’s defense happens to include 2019’s leaders in quarterback printing, by the way, in Myles Garrett, who forced the fumble and was responsible for nine of the 21 registered prints on Thursday night. Still, Burrow never seemed confused and struggled to the end despite the game being out of reach and joining Tyler Boyd on a touchdown pass within the final two minutes of the game.
“Losing is not that fun. This may be the only time in my sports career that I have lost two games in a row,” said Burrow. “I do not feel so good. I know that guys in there are hurting and we will come back to work tomorrow and try to get this thing right. Losing is unacceptable to me, to everyone in there, to coaching Taylor, to everyone in it this organization. So we just have to fix it. “
Burrow’s desire to win is evident from the press box. All too often, a quarterback in the first round takes the field for his prime-time debut and gets dizzy by a formidable pass rush, which Cleveland owns, and melts down for the nation to see. The Browns had plenty of success on defensive stunts and twists all night, with Porter Gustin hitting a good hit on Burrow after he had already been removed by Garrett. But none of that seemed to affect him nearly as much as his second loss in so many pro games.
Things start right for Burrow; he has so much of his promising career ahead of him. And as Thursday night showed, it will be really fun to watch – as long as Cincinnati does not expose him to the same fate as previously promising passers-by.