June 22, 2024

NFL Power Rankings:The Bengals can’t be fixed after another bad performance

Nobody thought twice when Joe Burrow got a five-year, $275 million contract extension from the Cincinnati Bengals. Burrow was one of the best quarterbacks in football. It was an obvious call.

To be clear, nobody is backtracking on Burrow getting that deal or his status as one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks. In fact, the confidence in Burrow is why the Bengals’ offensive struggles are so perplexing.

The Bengals are 4-for-4 when it comes to bad offensive performances this season. They looked bad again Sunday in an uncompetitive 27-3 loss to the Tennessee Titans. The Titans have a terrible pass defense, and the Bengals couldn’t do anything against it. Cincinnati’s offense has been broken all season and it’s not getting any better.

The Bengals are in trouble. They’re not dead at 1-3, but they also don’t look like the type of team that can make a run.

It starts with questions about how to fix the offense. As with most things in the NFL, it’s not just one thing that has derailed Cincinnati. Multiple factors are contributing to the mess.

The biggest problem is there are no explosive plays, which has been a foundation for the Bengals’ offense. Burrow is not throwing deep.

Burrow’s average air yards on completed throws is a measly 3.3, according to Next Gen Stats, which is second-worst in the league ahead of only Carolina Panthers rookie Bryce Young. Only six regular NFL starters are below 5 yards, and Burrow is nowhere near 5.

Only 6.6% of Burrow’s passes have been 20 yards or more downfield, according to Pro Football Focus. Only Young and Sam Howell — two first-year starters — have lower percentages of deep throws this season. The past two seasons, 10.5% of Burrow’s throws were deep.

That has disappeared in the Bengals’ offense. Burrow’s average depth of target has sunk to 6.6 yards, the third-lowest in the league among starters. It was all the way down to 4.5 yards on Sunday. Everyone knows that’s not Burrow’s game.

A big reason for that is the offensive line, which has been bad. The Bengals started Sunday’s game with a lot of quick throws, and it still didn’t help. On Burrow’s first 10 attempts he was hurried seven times.

Cincinnati allowed three sacks on the day and that doesn’t look bad, but the Titans were living in the Bengals’ backfield and Burrow avoided several other sacks by getting rid of the ball right away.

The Bengals simply could not block a Titans front that isn’t even great rushing the quarterback.

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