BALTIMORE (AP) — There was no place Joe Burrow could go to escape. The Bengals rookie shuffled in the pocket, squirmed toward the sideline and, on a few occasions, simply tried to duck.
Everywhere he went, there always seemed to be some guy in a purple jersey poised to drop him to the turf.
Coming off three straight 300-yard games, Burrow ran into a relentless defense that made him look very much like a first-year player Sunday. Notching seven sacks and forcing the top overall pick in the 2019 draft into a pair of turnovers, the Baltimore Ravens smothered Cincinnati 27-3.
If there was ever any question, the 3-hour horror show indicated just how far the Bengals — and their prized rookie — have to go before they can compete against the NFL’s top clubs.
“Personally, I got to get the ball out of my hands faster,” Burrow said. “I wasn’t very accurate today, which is disappointing to me. I thought we had a great week of practice that didn’t carry over.”
After becoming the first rookie in NFL history to sling together three consecutive 300-yard games, Burrow went 19 for 39 for 183 yards with a lost fumble and an interception.
“That’s a tough aggressive defense. I’ve seen them do that a lot to a lot of quarterbacks in this league,” Bengals coach Zac Taylor said. “It’s just one of those performances early in the season you’re going to have and you’ve got to learn from, and I’m very confident he’ll do that.”
Burrow has spent the first part of the season learning how to read defenses and simply stay in one piece. He’s been sacked 22 times, including eight in Philadelphia. On Sunday, seven different Baltimore players each had a sack.
“We know how to handle pressure from a defense,” Burrow said. “We’ve handled it the last three or four weeks. We just didn’t handle it very well today.”
That’s because the Ravens were coming from all sorts of angles, and just about anyone and everyone was poised to attack on any given play.
Burrow can only hope this experience will help him avoid a similar debacle.
“I consider myself a playmaker and I didn’t make any today that brought us down the field,” he said.
Burrow also conceded: “I did hold the ball a little too long sometimes.”
One week after ringing up 33 points in a win over Jacksonville, the Bengals (1-3-1) didn’t get on the board against Baltimore until the final minute.
“I think we’ve made great progress these past couple of weeks,” Taylor insisted. “We’re not going to hit the panic button because it’s one game. This is not indicative of what we want to put on the field.”
What they do want to put on the field is just about anything but this.
“We left a lot out there,” receiver Tyler Boyd said. “That’s the worst performance of the offense that we ever displayed, and I can tell that will never happen again.”