Joe Burrow joined an exclusive club in the Bengals’ win over the Ravens in Week 16. He threw for 525 yards, the fourth-most in NFL history, and four touchdowns in Cincinnati’s 41-21 rout of Baltimore.
Breaking the 500-yard mark came with some controversy. Burrow’s final throw — a 52-yard strike to Joe Mixon — came with under two minutes left in the game. The Bengals were already leading by 20, and John Harbaugh apparently took exception to Cincinnati’s decision to break the 500-yard mark.
ProFootballTalk reported that Harbaugh “seemed unhappy” with Bengals coach Zac Taylor because of that throw, though Harbaugh was diplomatic about the issue in his postgame news conference.
“They call their plays, we call our plays,” Harbaugh told reporters.
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Taylor explained after the game that he just wanted to “keep being aggressive” late against the banged-up Ravens secondary. Neither he nor Burrow saw a problem with their approach, and Burrow noted that the Ravens did the same thing to them last season.
“This is the NFL,” Burrow told PFT. “This isn’t peewee, this isn’t high school where you go out and run up the score. You play until the final whistle. I don’t care what the score is. We’ve been in spots where teams go out and do that to us. They did it to us last year. No sympathy from me.”
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Burrow has a point. The Ravens beat the Bengals 27-3 and 38-3 in their two meetings last season, so Cincinnati is just returning the favor with their two 2021 blowouts.
It’s worth noting that the Ravens have pulled similarly late offensive pushes to reach records this season. Against the Broncos in Week 4, they ran the ball with three seconds left despite having a 16-point lead. Why? Because they wanted to keep a streak of 100-yard rushing games intact. So, Harbaugh really isn’t in a spot to complain.
Burrow also admitted he was incentivized to put up big numbers against the Ravens after a comment made by Don “Wink” Martindale. The Ravens’ defensive coordinator basically said that Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase weren’t on the same level as Davante Adams and Aaron Rodgers, for whom the Ravens devised a special game plan in Week 15.
“Adams is one of the top two receivers in the league and he’s not No. 2,” Martindale said, per USA TODAY Sports. “Aaron Rodgers is a Hall of Fame quarterback, and I don’t think we’re ready to buy a gold jacket for Joe (Burrow).”
Burrow felt slighted by that comment and used it as fuel for his 525-yard day.
“I didn’t think it was a necessary comment,” Burrow said. ”I wouldn’t say I was offended by it. I’m in year two, who knows what’s going to happen down the road, but I didn’t think it was a necessary comment.”