Bengals tout Burrow after beating Mahomes, K.C.

Bengals tout Burrow after beating Mahomes, K.C.

9: 54 PM ET

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    Ben BabyESPN Staff Writer

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    • ESPN Staff Writer
    • Previously, a college football writer at The Dallas Morning News
    • University of North Texas graduate

CINCINNATI — Bengals coach Zac Taylor didn’t hesitate when asked whether quarterback Joe Burrow should be in contention to win the NFL’s Most Valuable Player award.

“Absolutely,” Taylor said.

Burrow added to his growing list of credentials in a statement 27-24 win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. Burrow became the first QB to beat K.C. counterpart Patrick Mahomes in three straight games. The Tampa Bay BuccaneersTom Brady is the only other quarterback to have that many victories versus Mahomes, the 2018 MVP.

Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase firmly agreed with his coach about Burrow’s MVP candidacy.

“He is one of the most talented quarterbacks in this league,” Chase stated. “Everybody knows this. He should be in this MVP race. He should be in the MVP race if he isn’t. Number one quarterback in this race. “

Burrow was 25-of-31 passing for 286 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday.

Cincinnati (8-4) entered the fourth quarter trailing Kansas City (9-3) by a touchdown before things turned in the Bengals’ favor. After linebacker Germaine Pratt stripped the ball out of Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce‘s grip and recovered the fumble, Burrow and the offense went to work.

With the Bengals trailing 24-20 at that point, Cincinnati went on a 10-play drive capped by an 8-yard touchdown pass from Burrow to running back Chris Evans. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, this was Burrow’s ninth passing touchdown in the fourth quarter. It was the most by any quarterback in this season’s NFL.

Taylor was quick praise Burrow’s pass defense on Sunday. Burrow was not pressured on 27 of his pass attempts, per NFL Next Gen Stats, and was sacked just once. However, the third-year player proved to be slippery throughout the day. He had a career-high 11 carries for 46 yards and one rushing touchdown. He now has five rushing touchdowns, matching Jack Thompson’s 1979 record for the most by a Bengals quarterback in a single season.

“He has great size and elusiveness,” Kansas City defensive end Frank Clark said. People don’t give him much respect for how elusive and present he is in the pocket. “

Taylor, the team’s playcaller, put the ball in Burrow’s hands to seal the game and end Kansas City’s streak of 14 consecutive victories in the month of December, a stretch that dates back to Mahomes’ first year as a starter in 2018.

On third-and-11, Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins said he and Tyler Boyd thought Cincinnati was going to run the ball to chew up some clock. Higgins stated that Burrow was looking at Higgins in the huddle. He asked him a simple question: Run or pass?

“He said, ‘Pass,'” Higgins said. “We all looked at one another. He said, “Let’s get this done.” ‘”

Burrow did exactly that. He found Higgins for a 14-yard completion that effectively ended the game. Both of Cincinnati’s victories over Kansas City last season were based on winning field goals that expired. Against the AFC’s top team so far in 2022, the winning margin was bigger.

Burrow ignored Taylor’s MVP talk and those of his teammates.

” I don’t play the sport for these kinds of accolades,” Burrow stated. “I play the game for the guys in the locker area. It doesn’t matter what it takes to win every Sunday, I’ll do it. If I have to hand the ball off 72 times and come out with a win, I’ll be happy. “

Entering Sunday, Burrow ranked third in the NFL in fourth-quarter QBR, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Burrow delivered big plays against one the NFL’s most talented teams and quarterbacks.

“He is playing at the level that we need him to lead us, and to be confident that every game we win,” Taylor stated, adding that there is no doubt about Burrow’s place in the MVP conversation. “I’ve said this before. I wouldn’t trade him to anyone in the world. “

ESPN’s Adam Teicher contributed to this report.

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