Thursday night’s game lacked explosive offense, but both quarterbacks showed improvement in their ability to manage a tightly contested game. On the back of a strong second half, Burrow finished with 348 passing yards and two touchdowns.
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Burrow came into the game with a plan to attack along the sideline versus man coverage, as he attempted 15 passes around the numbers. Even his wide check-downs were effective, notching nine completions for 169 yards. His receivers did most of the heavy lifting, as 54% of his yardage came after the catch.
Joe Burrow's passing production vs. Jaguars
|Middle of Field||16/16||179-1-0|
Joe Mixon has never had a string of dominant performances, but he has been very steady. Mixon racked up over four yards per carry and 70% of his yards came after contact. He wasn’t involved in the passing game, catching one screen pass for no gain.
Wide Receiver/Tight Ends
Burrow progressed from Ja'Marr Chase to Tyler Boyd all night, and the pair more than doubled their teammates' receiving production. Chase continues to be a vertical threat in Zac Taylor’s scheme, finishing with an average depth of target over 11 yards when targeted. C.J. Uzomah was Burrow's favorite check-down option all night.
Bengals' WR and TE production vs. Jaguars
|Player||Targets||Yards Per Route||Average Depth of Target||15+ Yard Gains|
Cincinnati's ability to keep Burrow clean feels much more like an indictment upon Jacksonville’s pass rush than a credit to the Bengals' pass protection. Rookie Jackson Carman allowed one pressure, and Riley Reiff was his only teammate who lost a rep in pass protection.
Trey Hendrickson dominated as a pass rusher throughout the night, recording six pressures and regularly flushing Lawrence out of the pocket in obvious passing situations. D.J. Reader collapsed the pocket and generated three pressures as well, but Lawrence's athleticism prevented a number of sacks.
Cincy’s linebacker corps didn’t find much work, but the defense was sitting on underneath routes due to its confidence that Jacksonville's receivers couldn't separate downfield. Akeem Davis-Gaither, Germaine Pratt and Logan Wilson only allowed 17 yards in the passing game, and Wilson added a stop against the run.
Mike Hilton had his troubles, giving up over 80 yards on nine targets — four of which went for first downs. Hilton's average depth of target was only 6.5 yards deep, which is evidence of his struggles to play tight in coverage, as he gave up two gains of 15-plus yards.
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The game finally seemed to slow down for Lawrence against Cincinnati, which was evidenced by how well he protected the football. He finished without a turnover-worthy play for the first time this season. Lawrence also showed his under-appreciated running ability, as he recorded four first downs and a rushing touchdown.
This offense certainly still misses Travis Etienne‘s explosive play potential in the running game, but James Robinson did his part to keep the Jaguars on schedule. Robinson created over 60% of his rushing yards after contact, and six of his runs went for first downs. He also notched a pair of explosive gains.
James Robinson's production vs. Bengals
|Player||Attempts||Yards Per Carry||First Down/TD %||% of Yards After Contact|
Wide Receiver/Tight Ends
D.J. Chark went down early Thursday night with an ankle injury, and Jacksonville struggled to find open space. Laviska Shenault Jr. was the most targeted and productive receiver for the Jags, as he averaged just under five yards per route run. No other Jags receiver had more than 50 receiving yards.
Lawrence wasn’t sacked on the night, but Jacksonville continues to have issues with its interior blocking, as Brandon Linder surrendered three pressures. Cam Robinson also gave up three pressures at the tackle spot, but Lawrence was able to get the ball out of his hands quickly or extend plays well enough to avoid hits.
Dawuane Smoot was the only Jaguars defensive lineman to register more than one pressure, finishing with four. The unit recorded just one sack, nine total pressures and no other QB hits. A majority of the pressures came in clean-up situations when Burrow tried to extend the play.
Myles Jack and Damien Wilson combined for a tackle for loss and three defensive stops against the run. Jack added one pressure as a pass rusher, but both struggled to contain Uzomah underneath, allowing five catches (on five targets) for north of 50 yards and three first downs.
Tyson Campbell checks many of the athletic requirements to play as an NFL cornerback, but his lack of ball skills and playmaking ability down the field consistently hurt the Jaguars. He surrendered 133 yards on just seven targets, five of which went for first downs. He may not have the upper-echelon skills to be a man-coverage cornerback this early in his career.