Nobody expects perfection from a rookie quarterback making his NFL debut. However, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow expected a lot more from himself in Sunday’s loss to the Chargers. Despite a solid if uneven pro debut in which he completed 23 of his 36 passes for 193 yards, Burrow graded his own performance with a “D.”
While he was far from brilliant, Burrow surely deserves better than a D. Late in the fourth quarter, he led the Bengals on a drive to set up a 31-yard field goal that should have sent the game to overtime, only for Cincinnati Randy Bullock to miss what should be a chip shot for NFL kickers. Even if he made mistakes earlier in the game, Burrow put those errors behind him and stepped up in the clutch.
However, Burrow was more focused on his shortcomings than his bright spots after the game. Fortunately for the rookie, his teammates were there to pick him up and give Burrow a confidence boost despite the loss.
“That guy doesn’t flinch,” wide receiver A.J. Green said of Burrow. “The way he handled himself in that last drive was unbelievable. I haven’t seen any rookie the way he handled it after adversity. We got a special one in Joe.”
For Burrow and the Bengals, the next challenge is finding a way to bounce back quickly. Cincinnati heads to Cleveland in Week for a Thursday night game. The loser will sit at the bottom of the AFC North at 0-2, an early-season hole that both teams will want to avoid at all costs. We’ll soon find out if Burrow’s harsh grading system for himself will serve as a blow to his confidence or a way to motivate himself to be better next time.