Former Bengals great Cris Collinsworth recently retold a story on The Lefkoe Show that Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham shared with him about Burrow, regarding comments the Bengals' signal-caller made after Malik Jackson’s crushing blow on Burrow in a Week 3 matchup in Philadelphia.
“He (Burrow) took that shot and everybody in the stadium all looked back at the referee to see whether he was going to throw the flag or not,” Collinsworth said. “Basically, Joe Burrow got up, saw there was no flag, didn’t complain. … He turned back to Graham or Malik Jackson or one of them and he said, ‘You know when I’m the GOAT, I’m going to get that call.’ And everybody on their defense was like ‘I like this guy.’”
Asked if he would like his players to stand up for Burrow in those moments, Taylor said they “have to be smart in the moment.” On Sunday, after Burrow rolled his ankle on the sideline, he came back in and completed a 19-yard pass to Auden Tate on fourth-and-21 and the Bengals headed into halftime down 22-7.
“We still have another play to play there right before the half, and, you know, it’s hard for them to see in that moment,” Taylor said. “So again, it’s just the way it goes. You’ve got to play football, you’ve got to refocus, you’ve got to move on to the next play.”
Wide receiver Tyler Boyd said he didn’t notice whether the ankle impacted Burrow in the second half, though Burrow threw for just 24 yards after halftime and didn’t get a single third-down conversion for the game.
“Joe’s a tough guy,” Boyd said. “He loves to play football. He loves to come back and fight and try to win it for his team. I know he’ll always have that dog in him. It’ll take a lot to make him quit. It’s a man’s game. It’s a man’s sport. You’ve gotta fight through them sometimes.”
Burrow put a lot of the blame on himself for the poor second half, noting he was missing throws he normally would make. Boyd felt like the offense never got into a rhythm after some early penalties and struggles on special teams. He finished with just 41 yards on six catches and felt like the Steelers were keying in on him a bit.
Tee Higgins led the group with 115 yards on seven catches, and A.J. Green didn’t make a catch despite five targets. Both Taylor and Boyd shrugged off the suggestion that maybe there is some concern about Green not being able to sustain production week to week, though this was a game where the offense could have used a breakout game from the veteran leader.
“It’s A.J. Green,” Boyd said. “He’s still the GOAT in my eyes. It’s just tough, just to be in the position that he’s in. But for the game, we were all kind of in that position. Without a rhythm, you can’t really get anybody involved. The guys can’t really click how they want to click. We just got to find a way to start fast. If we start fast, the ball would have gotten in everybody’s hands.”
Taylor is hoping to have Jonah Williams back after he was active but didn’t play Sunday while still working back from a stinger, but it’s still unclear if Joe Mixon (foot) will be ready to resume practicing.
The Bengals now seek to bounce back against Washington Football Team (2-7) in another road game Sunday, as they head into a five-game stretch featuring four opponents with losing records.
“It’s important just to get this next victory and build off that momentum,” Taylor said when asked about the importance of getting some wins down the stretch. “We felt like we made some when we beat Tennessee. We didn’t play our best yesterday so we have to hit the reset button there, put that game behind us, that’s all I mean by that and refocus. Our guys have always had a great approach and they will be focused and ready to go on Sunday.”
Bengals at Washington, 1 p.m., CBS, 700, 1530, 102.7, 104.7