Joe Burrow added another impressive performance to his collection by overseeing a comeback win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday night, completing 25 of 32 passes for 348 yards and two touchdowns. His Cincinnati Bengals moved to 3-1 on the year and are one of the league's quiet early surprises. Burrow has above-average in three of four outings this season, his second in the NFL carrying the pressures that come with being a No. 1 overall pick. Through 14 career starts he's amassed 3,676 passing yards and thrown for 22 scores against nine interceptions while earning a 94.8 rating.
We've crossed over into a time in the NFL where every rookie quarterback is expected to jump right in and produce. This year has helped serve as a reminder that it's not that easy and growing pains are par for the course. Burrow, for all the fanfare coming out of LSU, has been doing this quietly. Partly because he plays for the Bengals who don't get nearly equal attention and partly because he's doing it without much controversy or drama.
Reacting on his show this afternoon, Colin Cowherd said what a lot of people are slowly realizing. That Burrow is really good. That there are shades of Joe Montana visible in the right light.
The only problem, of course, is that Burrow doesn't have a Bill Walsh. He has the Bengals who, until they prove otherwise, will be considered one of the most dysfunctional franchises in the league.
Cowherd hopes things fall into place in a way that allows Burrow to succeed. Allow me to wonder aloud if that success could be way ahead of schedule. If Burrow's talent can overcome deficiencies around him on the field and in the org chart. If he's not already in the top half of quarterbacks and rapidly climbing.
Try this thought exercise. Imagine Burrow had been drafted No. 1 overall by a hapless Dallas Cowboys or New York Giants franchise. And then performed like this out of the gate. His name would surely be closer to the tips of tongues in the media and public perception would bend to the weight of coverage.
Burrow, for now, is flying a bit under the radar. He's very visible but still a bit under the radar. All things considered, this seems like the perfect place to be.