The Bengals get the ball out of Joe Burrow’s hands a lot quicker and it works wonders on offense | NFL News, Rankings and Stats – Pro Football Focus | Episode Movies

“I feel good today.”

That’s what cameras told Joe Burrow to star receiver Ja’Marr Chase on the touchline during the Cincinnati Bengals’ Week 7 game against the Atlanta Falcons. And the truth is that Burrow had every reason to be feeling good – his offense was firing on all cylinders and managed to put 30 points on the board for the second straight week, a feat he enjoyed in the first five weeks of the failed season.

So what happened to Burrow and the Bengals, and is that success down to schematic changes or just better individual performances? Well, a little bit from column A, a little bit from column B.

Head coach Zac Taylor and offensive coordinator Brian Callahan deserve credit for playing on Burrow’s strengths in recent weeks and making changes to Cincinnati’s offensive approach during the season.

One of the Bengals’ biggest problems in the early stages of the 2022 season was that Burrow was under constant pressure and was hit badly as a result. And that was a product of a few factors: a new offensive line that was struggling, Burrow that was pressuring himself, and the quarterback that had to stay on the ball longer due to play calls.

Fixing that last issue was key to helping the other factors and it resulted in a huge improvement on offense as Burrow was exceptional when getting the ball out of his hands quickly.

In games where he releases the ball within 2 seconds, the Bengals offense ranks second in the league in expected points added (EPA) per game. However, in games where he holds the ball longer, they only rank 13th in EPA per game.

0-2 seconds Longer than 2 seconds
Completions/Attempts 87/115 99/155
meters per attempt 7.5 8.0
Revenueable Game % 0.0% 4.2%
PFF pass grade 78.4 68.6
EPA per game 0.367 0.030

In recent weeks, the Bengals have made several changes to get the ball out of Burrow’s hands faster.

From Week 1 through Week 5, Cincinnati completed game action with 20.7% dropbacks, the eighth-lowest rate among teams over that time span. But over the past two weeks, the team has used game action on just nine of 92 dropbacks (9.8%), which ranks last in the NFL.

While game action can be helpful for many quarterbacks, being able to read defense also delays and forces the player to hold the ball longer — the opposite of what the Bengals are trying to achieve. In fact, with the fourth-lowest rate in the NFL, Burrow has come under pressure when not utilizing game action.

Additionally, in the past two weeks, Cincinnati went from having an empty formation (ie, no players in the backfield) on 16.0% of passing games (11th in league) to 28.3% of passing games (second in league behind). only the dolphins).

Spreading the field and reading defense before the snap was one of Burrow’s greatest strengths during his sensational stint at LSU, and he’s still very efficient in that formation in the NFL.

Finally, the Bengals almost completely removed passplays from under center, which is another situation that hinders a quarterback’s ability to read defenses quickly. In the first five weeks, Cincinnati called an average of 5.8 pass plays from under the middle, but in the last two weeks — against the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons — they’ve called two such plays total.

So has the Bengals coaching staff achieved their original goal? Burrow got rid of the ball in 2 seconds in 21 games against the Falcons, a season-high for Cincinnati and second only to the Green Bay Packers in Week 7.

As a result of these changes, Burrow is back at his best. He posted a 91.8 PFF grade against the Falcons last week, the second best single-game mark of his career, and he had three great throws and no moneyable games.

The last time the Bengals signal-caller had at least three big throws and no moneyable games was week 17 of the 2021 season — the game against the Chiefs that started the Bengals’ memorable run. And we all know how that ended.

Burrow and Bengals fans will have to hope this improvement in form yields similar results as Cincinnati travel to Cleveland on Monday night in search of a third straight win.

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