Joe Burrow Is Going to Be Historic, One Way or Another

By Stephen Douglas
Joe Burrow
Joe Burrow / Jason Miller/Getty Images
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Joe Burrow looks like he could be good. That's a positive sign for the Cincinnati Bengals and their No. 1 draft pick. Burrow threw for 316 yards and the first three touchdown passes of his NFL career on Thursday night in a reasonably close game against the Cleveland Browns. He also threw 60 passes, which is kind of rare.

They noted the accomplishment(?) near the end of the Thursday Night Football broadcast and my ears perked up when I heard that Burrow had thrown the most passes by a rookie quarterback since Chris Weinke. Way back in 2001, Weinke, a rookie out of Florida State, completed 36 of 63 passes for 223 yards, one touchdown and one interception. That works out to an incredible 3.54 yards per attempt.

While it doesn't happen often, 60 passes have been thrown by a single quarterback in a single game more than 60 times in NFL history. To name a few: Tom Brady, Blake Bortles, Dan Marino, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger and Steve Young have all done it. Jared Goff threw 68 passes (third-most ever) in a game just last season. During his second season, Drew Bledsoe had a game where he completed 45 of 70 attempts for 426 yards and three touchdown passes. In 2008, Monday Night Football broadcaster Brian Griese threw 67 passes.

None of those guys seemed to have their careers ruined by throwing a ton in one week, but if you're concerned Burrow's arm is going to fall off, that will probably be the offensive line's fault. The bigger concern should be Burrow's head as he learns to deal with losing for the first time in his entire life.

First of all, imagine being this good at sports. Burrow must be shell-shocked. He just lost a game a week ago. The last time Burrow lost two games in a single month was November 2018. Wait until he's played an entire season with a rebuilding team that went 2-14 last season.

It seems like he's going to try and throw through it, which should be fun to watch. If the Bengals are happy letting Burrow chuck it for a full season, it should result in some crazy numbers. He's attempted 97 passes through two games, which puts him on pace for 767 attempts this season. That would smash Matthew Stafford's record of 727 attempts in 2012.

There's a long way to go and Burrow will need a heroic effort to stay healthy for 16 games behind this line, but after last night it seems possible. The question is, can the Bengals put a team around Burrow so that he's in a position to set a record beyond pass attempts? For the sake of Burrow's mental health, let's hope so.

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