“Never been in that position before,” said Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow said last January when revealing his headset stopped working during a Divisional Round playoff win over the Tennessee Titans.
“That was kind of exciting for me.”
Well, it turns out that what was once a malfunction became a foreshadowing of what saved the Bengals offense this season.
According to James Palmer from NFL Network, the Bengals’ coaching staff changed the offense to give Burrow more control and to make adjustments on the fly.
I’m told the #Bengals changed their offense Week 5 to give Joe Burrow more control to make adjustments. QB coach Dan Pitcher and OC Brian Callahan have helped this offensive evolution since then and after Week 5, Cincinnati has won 6 of 7 and Burrow is in the MVP race.
— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) December 11, 2022
According to the recent report, the change occurred in Week 5. The Bengals were 2-2 entering that week and lost to the Baltimore Ravens 17-19 to go into Week 6 with a losing 2-3 record.
Since then, there’s been no stopping them. In those first five weeks of the season, the Bengals scored 21.6 points per game. That would rank right around league average right now.
In a remarkable 6-1 run since then, the Bengals offense has taken off, though. They’ve averaged 29.1 points per game in that span. The Kansas City Chiefs have the same average for the season and they lead the NFL.
Or if you want a graphic representation of how good the offense has been for Cincinnati since the change, here’s a quick look at EPA/play (efficiency metric) across the league since Week 5.
So the Bengals changed the offense in Week 5 to let Joe Burrow make adjustments on the fly, per @JamesPalmerTV.
— Mauricio Rodríguez (@MauNFL) December 11, 2022
Of course, that doesn’t mean that Joe Burrow is calling the plays every down and that’s the reason why they’re back in AFC contention. However, it’s a big part of the puzzle as to how they’ve righted the ship.
Big props to the Bengals coaching staff for being willing to make such a significant change midseason. They saw a problem and fixed it.
It’s not the first time they’ve done that as the Bengals have figured out how to attack underneath, run the football more efficiently, and have seemingly fixed the pass protection.