Pressure Joe Burrow
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – NOVEMBER 27: Joe Burrow #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals throws the ball during a game against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on November 27, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Earlier this week, Patriots safety Devin McCourty called the Bengals passing attack is “across the board, is probably the best group [in the NFL],” in terms of the weapons at their disposals. There’s plenty of evidence to back up that claim, with the wide receiver trio of Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd arguably being the best wide receiver trio in the league. Complementing them is tight end Hayden Hurst and running backs Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine, who both contribute in the passing game.
That’s a lot of players who can all make an impact with the ball in their hands. While strong coverage and tight coverage assignments will help with slowing them down, the best thing the Patriots can do it make it tough on the guy getting them the football – quarterback Joe Burrow.
Burrow hasn’t been as bad under pressure as some of the other quarterbacks the Patriots have faced, but there is a noticeable drop off when rushers come after him. His passer rating drops from 105.5 in a clean pocket to 89.7.
On top of just general pressure though, one of Burrow’s biggest issues this year has been when there are hands in his face in front of him. He’s had 19 passes batted at the line this year, tied for the most in the league (although Justin Herbert, who he is tied with, has attempted 100 more passes). His batted pass percentage is currently 5.1 percent, which would be the second-highest in the league since 2019.
A number of those deflections have turned into interceptions. The Patriots will need to create turnovers to stay in this game, so keeping hands in the passing lanes will be big.
This will also be Burrow’s first game against Bill Belichick, which could be a factor. Expect Belichick to spin the dial on the back end and have some new looks for Burrow, which could lead to the Cincy quarterback holding the ball a bit longer than normal.