Healthy Joe Burrow is back, and so are the Bengals as we know and expect them to be. Sunday night’s contest with the Bills was the latest piece of evidence, and really the final part of the evidence I need to say that Burrow — and, in turn, the Bengals — is back.
Tonight’s contest opened with a nine-play, 76-yard touchdown drive by the Bengals. Joe Burrow capped it off with a touchdown pass to Irv Smith Jr. Immediately, Burrow’s mobility — the final thing missing from his game while he dealt with a nagging calf injury — was on full display. Burrow was able to move with ease and extend plays as the Bengals marched down the field for a score.
Then it was Josh Allen and the Bills turn. Allen and the Bills tied the game on the ensuing drive. A Josh Allen rushing touchdown made it 7-7. After the Bengals drove down the field and scored another touchdown, it felt like we had a shootout on our hands between Burrow and Allen, a game that would have been a fitting ending to a wild Sunday of action across the league.
Unfortunately, the offenses didn’t keep that pace. We only saw one more touchdown the rest of the way after Cincinnati jumped ahead 21-7 in the second quarter. It was a Josh Allen touchdown strike to Stefon Diggs with 3:38 left in the game.
It was too little, too late.
Josh Allen and the Bills couldn’t take advantage of the Bengals’ offense not showing up for the second half. They dropped this one to Cincinnati, letting a chance to gain a game on the Dolphins in the AFC East standings slip away.
Allen finished the night 26 of 38 for 258 yards, a passing touchdown, rushing touchdown, and an interception.
But much like he was last January when these two teams met in the AFC playoffs, Joe Burrow was the best QB on the field tonight. Burrow completed 31 of 44 for 348 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions.
As Burrow said after the game, the offense didn’t play well in the second half, but their defense kept the Bills at bay long enough to leave with a win, their fifth of the season.
Burrow said before the game to Tee Higgins that he would feed him the ball all night, and he did precisely that, hooking up with Higgins eight times for 110 yards. Tonight was Higgins’ first 100-plus yard game and his first since Week 16 last season.