Burrow says calf injury continues to improve

Bengals quarterback was able to be more mobile vs. Arizona and expects the same Sunday vs. Seattle

CINCINNATI — Joe Burrow’s calf wasn’t even a question until the very end of Cincinnati Bengals coach Zac Taylor’s weekly press conference Wednesday to preview Sunday’s home game against Seattle.

The Bengals quarterback warded off the concerns with his performance in a 34-20 win at Arizona in Week 5, showing some mobility for the first time since a July 27 calf strain. Burrow said he still felt good in the days after pushing himself physically that game, and this is “by far” the best he’s been since the injury occurred.

Burrow had felt encouraged by the improvement in his calf going into practices last week and is even more so now, having seen the dividends in a game.

“I feel good, keep getting better, so it’s exciting,” Burrow said.

When Burrow originally injured the calf, he didn’t practice for five weeks, but then came back with about 10 days to get ready for the season opener at Cleveland and was clearly not up to his usual speed and capabilities. In a Week 2 loss to Baltimore, Burrow “tweaked” the calf but was back to work in limited fashion during practices and played on Monday Night Football against the L.A. Rams. He’s been a full participant in practices since then.

Asked why he was able to recover so much quicker the second time, Burrow clarified the re-aggravation was in a different spot and not “quite as intense.” He’s feeling close to 100 percent now but couldn’t put a number to it.

“I’m confident that I can run around and extend and make plays right now, so it’s tough to say percentage wise, but we’re pretty close,” Burrow said.

Taylor said Burrow’s comfort level with the calf isn’t as much of a topic when it comes to the team’s offensive plans heading into Sunday’s game against the Seahawks. The focus is all simply on the best way to attack their defense.

Being physically healthy enough to play without limitations made all the difference for Burrow this past weekend, and the team overall benefited as well.

“His ability to move and create and extend plays were critical to scoring those red zone touchdowns,” offensive coordinator Brian Callahan said. “I mean, it was a really pretty good performance on his part. And he looked like he was back to playing normal football. He was quick and decisive and then knew when to buy the time when he had to throw. So that part makes a huge difference. I think the way that Ja’Marr played, you know, the ability for (Burrow) to move as much as he did and get him in some open spaces and get him, what he had 19 targets or something, I mean, that’s a high volume. I wouldn’t expect that every single week. But that was a good game on his part. So those two sort of fueled us..”

Burrow passed for 315 yards and three touchdowns, including a 63-yard pass that Ja’Marr Chase hauled into the endzone after the ball had traveled 58.1 yards in the air. It was the longest air ball of Burrow’s career and one of the biggest signs the quarterback is back to his normal self.

He showed it earlier in the game, too, when he slid to the right to avoid a sack and connected with Chase for the first touchdown in the redzone. Burrow said he knew after that, he would be confident in his calf the rest of the game.

“It’s tough sledding when you can’t move around in the pocket and you can’t extend plays and you’ve got to play a certain way, so I was able to play the game the way I wanted to, the way I expected to,” Burrow said. “We were able to come out with a big win. Focused on this week now.”

The Bengals face a little bit of the unknown with Seahawks safety Jamal Adams expected back after he suffered a concussion in their last game against the Giants, just nine snaps into his first action since suffering a torn quad tendon in the 2022 opener.

Seattle’s defense ranks 30th in passing yards allowed (280.0 per game) and the Seahawks have allowed scores in seven of eight redzone situations, all of those going for touchdowns. Adams could be a big boost if back to his pre-2022 form, but Seattle is off to a 3-1 start even without him and the team is coming off a bye likely refreshed.

Burrow is just focused on getting a win, which would put Cincinnati back to .500 going into next week’s bye.

“They’re a really good team and they’ve proven it this year so far,” Burrow said. “We’re focused on getting better every day. We’ve got to be 1-0 this week.”


Seahawks at Bengals, 1 p.m., CBS, 700, 1530, 102.7, 104.7

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