ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, like his coach, talked about how there is still a lot of season to be played and that every team will go through a two-game losing streak.
“Unfortunately for us, it’s the first two games of the season,” coach Zac Taylor said.
With Burrow getting sacked six more times, after going down seven times when losing the opener in overtime, the defending AFC champion Bengals lost 20-17 on Sunday when the Dallas Cowboys — without quarterback Dak Prescott — won on Brett Maher’s 50-yard field goal on the final play of regulation.
Burrow’s take: “0-2 is tough, but there’s no panic.”
Still, the Bengals are the first AFC team since Denver in 1999 to start with consecutive losses after going to the Super Bowl the previous season. The Broncos were coming off consecutive Super Bowl victories and started 0-4 after John Elway retired.
Cincinnati has Burrow back and four new starters on the offensive line in an effort to give the young quarterback better protection. He was sacked an NFL-high 51 times during the regular season last year, and then 19 more times in their four postseason games.
When asked how uncomfortable Burrow looked in the pocket, Taylor said he didn’t sense that, though he did acknowledge, “I think we’ve given up too many sacks, absolutely.”
Burrow finished 24-of-36 passing for 199 yards without an interception after four picks in the opener. But the longest play went for 19 yards and his only touchdown was a 5-yarder to Tee Higgins with 3:51 left, before a throw to Tyler Boyd for the 2-point conversion that tied the game at 17-17.
That tying drive took nearly nine minutes, covering 83 yards in 19 plays.
“That’s how it’s supposed to look. That’s what we need to to get the whole game,” Burrow said. “So whatever we’ve got to do to move the chains on third down, find those completions and get those chains moving, we’re going to have a lot of drives like that the way defenses are playing us. So we’ve got to bank that one and remember how that feels.”
With all the pressure Burrow has been under, there really is no time to take deep shots down the field.
“That could be the case,” receiver Ja’Marr Chase said. “We’ve got to take some shots still. … We’ve got to get the protection down, too, so that’s the only way we could take shots.”
For the second week in a row, the Bengals overcame a 14-point deficit to tie the game, only to lose on a long field goal. Chris Boswell kicked a 53-yarder to give the Pittsburgh Steelers a 23-20 victory in the opener. That came after the Bengals missed an extra point that would have won it in regulation.
Taylor insisted he isn’t concerned about the slow start by the offense and his team.
“No, because people are going to look back at two games last year, and say something very similar,” the coach said. “These reactions always happen when you lose a game. It’s a long season, that’s what we told players. We’re just going to take ownership of these losses. … Our guys are going to continue to improve and play better and get some wins.”