Sunday marks the first time they will face off against a quarterback they may see for the next decade. It’ll be Cincinnati Bengals’ quarterback Joe Burrow’s first meeting versus the Pittsburgh Steelers. Mike Tomlin had high praise for the rookie QB.
“I have been really impressed with the quarterback,” Tomlin told reporters at his weekly Tuesday presser. “Joe Burrow, he’s as good as advertised. His physical talents are one thing and they’re rock solid. This guy can make every throw. His accuracy is exceptional. He’s a good decision maker. He’s a fluid decision maker. His mobility has really underrated. He’s an easy mover. He can escape and create. They also have some design quarterback runs that are challenging in the red area and so forth.”
While the Bengals are just 2-5-1 halfway through their season, Burrow has played well. He’s completing 67% of his passes and thrown 11 touchdowns to just five interceptions. That’s despite playing behind a patchwork offensive line, causing Burrow to be sacked 28 times this season. Only Carson Wentz has been dropped more. As Tomlin said, he’s also making plays with his legs, rushing for three scores.
Burrow has played particularly well his last two games. In a shootout loss to the Cleveland Browns and Week 8 upset win over the Tennessee Titans, Burrow completed over 70% of his throws with five touchdowns and just one pick. For Tomlin, the physical tools or stats aren’t the best part of his game. It’s everything else.
“But the most impressive thing has been his charisma or his moxie or his competitive spirit. It’s obvious that he’s an energy bringer. It’s obvious that he brings the best out in his teammates, They’re really getting a good vibe off of his play and his energy. He has them headed in the right direction.”
Confidence is high that Burrow was the right selection with their first overall pick. The wins and losses aren’t there yet and might not be for another season or two, but Burrow has them competitive in almost every game. Of their five losses, four have been by five points or fewer. So don’t be surprised if Sunday’s contest against the Steelers is another close, heart-attack type of game.
The, under Mike Tomlin, are 22-4 (including the playoffs) when playing against rookie quarterbacks, according to Pro Football Reference. They are 12-1 against rookie QBs at Heinz Field under Tomlin with their lone loss being to Dak Prescott in 2016.