For the first time in 13 games, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow wasn't planted on his backside multiple times during a game.
Thursday night's 27-15 victory over the Miami Dolphins marked the first time since Week 7, 2021, that Burrow was sacked fewer than two times in a game. The Dolphins sacked Burrow just once, as the QB helped guide Cincy back to .500, connecting on 20 of 31 passes for 287 yards and two touchdowns.
"All day, the protection was awesome," Burrow said, via the Associated Press. "I had all the time I needed in the pocket to find the guys I needed."
The Bengals entered Week 4 tied for last in sacks allowed with 15.
"I told them this is the most time I've had since I've been in the league," Burrow said of his offensive line on the Amazon Prime postgame show.
Keeping Burrow upright and giving up pressure on only 21.9 percent of dropbacks allowed the quarterback to make several big plays that turned the tide.
"Joe was lights-out," coach Zac Taylor said. "He was seeing it really well, giving guys an opportunity. It's man coverage, you've got to beat man coverage and we've got the guys to do it. We had the protection to match it, we have a quarterback where that's what he wants to see. 'Give me man coverage, let me fit into tight windows and tough spots.' So, I'm proud of the way all those guys stepped up."
After starting the season with 13 sacks allowed in two games, the protection has settled down with three in the last two outings. Cincy's inability to open up holes in the run game is an entirely different issue at this stage, but let's focus on the positive for now: Burrow was finally not obliterated in a game.
Now the Bengals' offensive line has to repeat the performance against a defense that wasn't coming off a 90-play game on only four days' rest.
Thursday's victory marked the first time Cincinnati won back-to-back games following an 0-2 start for the first time in franchise history.