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Week 7 Recap
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Quarterback Joe Burrow and his defending AFC Champion Bengals are back on track, winning for the fourth time in their last five games with a 35-17 home triumph over the Atlanta Falcons. Burrow balled out, completing 34 of 42 passes for 481 passing yards and three passing touchdowns in addition to another touchdown on a quarterback sneak. He came 71 yards short of breaking Norm Van Brocklin’s NFL all-time, single-game passing yards record of 551, which was set back in 1951. Burrow’s 481 yards on Sunday rank as the third most in a single game in team history.
Week 7 is Burrow’s second career game with over 400 yards passing, three or more passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown, making him the fourth player in NFL history to have multiple such games. The others who have accomplished this feat are Hall of Famer Peyton Manning, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray.
Sunday marks the Falcons’ first loss against the spread this season, and it also marks their 12th consecutive loss when entering a game with a .500 record (3-3 entering Sunday). That run of futility with a winning record on the line ties these Falcons (2018-2022) with the 2006-2012 Rams for the longest such streak since the 1970 AFL/NFL merger.
Despite falling behind 21-0 to begin the game, Atlanta opted for a run-heavy attack, rushing on 29 of their 42 offensive plays. Quarterback Marcus Mariota had 124 passing yards on 8 of 13 passing Sunday with 75 of those coming on his touchdown heave to Damiere Byrd at the end of the first half. The strategy made sense with the Falcons looking to keep their wounded defense on the sideline as their top cornerback A.J. Terrell left the game in the first quarter with a hamstring injury. They entered Week 7 without their No. 2 cornerback Casey Hayward after he had a shoulder procedure earlier in the week.
The win improves the Bengals to 4-3, keeping them in the mix for the AFC North division lead. Atlanta’s loss also keeps them in a tie for first in their division because Tom Brady and his Tampa Bay Buccaneers were stunned by the Carolina Panthers, 21-3. Both are 3-4 and tied for first in the NFC South.
Burrow had whatever he wanted on the Bengals’ first four drives, all of which resulted in touchdowns. Three of those were Burrow connecting with his receivers Tyler Boyd (a 60-yard deep ball over the middle on the opening possession) and Ja’Marr Chase (touchdowns of 32 and 41 yards). Boyd and Chase each finished the first half with over 100 receiving yards and a touchdown, making them the first wide receiver duo to do so in a single half since Hall of Famer Randy Moss and Wes Welker in the New England Patriots’ snow-filled 59-0 win over the Tennessee Titans in Week 6 of the 2009 season. Boyd, the seven-year veteran and longest-tenured Bengal, finished with a career-high 155 receiving yards on eight catches. Chase totaled his fifth career game with 130 or receiving yards, finishing with 130 on the nose and his two first-half touchdowns. Only Tyreek Hill and Justin Jefferson (six each) have more 130-yard games since Chase entered the NFL as the fifth overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Burrow poured it on early, finishing the first half with 345 of his 481 passing yards, marking the first half of his career with over 300 yards and three passing touchdowns. His gaudy first 30 minutes also led to the second perfect passer rating he’s had in a first half after completing 19 of his first 21 passes. After a slow start to the season, Burrow is on fire with 12 passing touchdowns and only one interception in the last five games, four resulting in wins. He has averaged 312 passing yards per game during the five-game stretch. The Bengals haven’t allowed a second-half touchdown in their last seven games, the longest such streak of games to do so since the Kansas City Chiefs in 1997.
The Falcons’ secondary injuries were too much for them to overcome. Week 7 was their first game since Hayward was put on injured reserve after a shoulder procedure and Terrell left the game in the first quarter with a hamstring injury. The Falcons played with backups Darren Hall, Isaiah Oliver and Cornell Armstrong for the bulk of the afternoon. Armstrong was promoted from the practice squad on Saturday. Atlanta safety Jaylinn Hawkins left the game to be checked for a concussion. All in all, Burrow’s 481 passing yards add up to second-most against the team in their franchise’s history. Only Jake Plummer, 499 passing yards against Atlanta in Week 8 of the 2004 season, has thrown for more against the Falcons than Burrow did in Week 7.
Chase’s second touchdown, a 41-yard catch and run, wasn’t so much the turning point as it was the nail in Atlanta’s coffin. The score came as Chase left Falcons defenders grasping at air as he put the Bengals back up 21 points for the second time in the contest, 28-7. With the way the Falcons were leaning on the ground game, that lead was insurmountable.
Ja’Marr Chase. #ATLvsCIN | 📺 FOX pic.twitter.com/HVoWIWbi0w
THAT’S how you start a football game.#ATLvsCIN | 📺 FOX pic.twitter.com/2Zgb01VCeg
Rarely does a game’s fourth play end up as its best play, but that was the case in Cincinnati in Week 7. Burrow’s picture-perfect deep ball seamlessly fell right into Boyd’s breadbasket. The only way Burrow could have more accurately delivered the football to Boyd is if he handed him the ball 60 yards down the field. The play was a display of Burrow’s pinpoint accuracy when going deep, one of the best weapons in his arsenal.
From here, the Bengals will remain in Ohio, but they will hit the road and travel to Cleveland for their first of two matchups with the Browns this season. As for the Falcons, they return home to play the suddenly frisky Carolina Panthers, who are coming off a shockingly dominant 21-3 win against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their first game since trading Christian McCaffrey to the San Francisco 49ers.
A Falcons encroachment penalty gives the Bengals first and goal at the two, and Cincinnati opts for sportsmanship, taking a knee and settling for a 35-17 victory. The Bengals have won four of their last five games while the Falcons fail to cover the spread for the first time this season.
Following the Falcons’ fourth straight punt of the second half, Joe Burrow has the Bengals driving for the sixth touchdown of the afternoon, as Cincinnati is inside the Atlanta 10 at the two-minute warning.
After a Bengals punt, Mariota converts two third downs to get the Falcons to midfield. Atlanta may need to start passing more frequently in a hurry, trailing 35-17 with just under 10 minutes left to play.
Another Atlanta punt puts the Bengals offense back on the field, starting at their own 21 with two minutes left in the third quarter.
Bengals Pro Bowl defensive end Trey Hendrickson leaves the game after stumbling to get up and heads to the locker room. As part of the league’s new concussion protocol, he will undergo a thorough examination with a high bar to clear to be allowed back into the game.
Joe Burrow’s one-yard sneak pushes the Bengals lead up to three possessions once again. They lead 35-17 with 5:20 left in the third quarter.
An offsides penalty on the Falcons negates what would have been Joe Burrow’s first interception of the game. Huge break for Cincinnati.
After the Falcons lost a combined four yards on their first two plays of the drive, a scramble by quarterback Marcus Mariota nearly picks up the first down, but he comes up three yards short. Two drives, two punts for Atlanta in the second half.
The Bengals went with an empty formation on fourth and one from the Falcons’ 27, and Atlanta’s defense comes through, knocking away Joe Burrow’s pass to Tee Higgins. The Falcons have stopped the Bengals on consecutive drives for the first time today after allowing four touchdowns in a row to start the game.
Ja’Marr Chase is back on the field to start the second half after he limped to the locker room with 20 seconds remaining in the first half.
A quick three-and-out for the Falcons to begin the second half. A one-yard run from Allgeier followed by consecutive incompletions from Mariota force an Atlanta punt.
Avery Williams takes the Bengals’ only punt of the first half 57 yards to get the football down to the Cincinnati 25. Thanks to the return, Falcons kicker Younghoe Koo knocks through a 43-yard field goal at the halftime buzzer. 28-17 Bengals lead with two quarters to play, but the Falcons will start the third quarter with possession. Burrow has a perfect passer rating at the half, completing 21-of-25 passes for 345 passing yards, and three passing touchdowns. He only needs 210 more passing yards to break the NFL’s all-time, single-game passing yards record that was set in 1951 by Hall of Famer Norm Van Brocklin.
Both Tyler Boyd (118 receiving yards, season-high, including a 60-yard receiving touchdown) and Ja’Marr Chase (112 receiving yards, two receiving touchdowns) each have over 100 yards receiving in the first half. Chase is limping to the locker room with 20 seconds left in the first half.
Marcus Mariota catches Bengals cornerback Eli Apple flat-footed as receiver Damiere Byrd blows by him for a 75-yard touchdown. The easiest pitch and catch Mariota will have all season. One play puts the Falcons back within striking distance, down 28-14 with 39 seconds left in the half. Atlanta will start the second half with the football.
Four possessions, four touchdowns for the Cincinnati offense. Ja’Marr Chase cooks his man, a fill-in with the injuries to A.J. Terrell and Casey Hayward, to haul in a back-shoulder pass from Joe Burrow and run away for a 41-yard touchdown. Chase now has four receiving touchdowns in the last two weeks after only two in the first five weeks of the season. Joe Burrow is 19-of-21 passing for 325 yards and three touchdown tosses. He has a perfect passer rating of 158.3 with 49 seconds left in the first half. Norm Van Brocklin’s all-time, single-game NFL record is 554 yards, set back in 1951. Bengals 28, Falcons 7.
Ja’Marr Chase. #ATLvsCIN | 📺 FOX pic.twitter.com/HVoWIWbi0w
Falcons fifth-round rookie running back Tyler Allgeier scores his first career NFL touchdown, a one-yard rush, to put Atlanta on the board. They now trail by 14, 21-7, with 4:46 left in the half. The run capped a 16-play drive that lasted a little over 10 minutes, exactly what the Falcons’ defense needed after surrendering touchdowns on each of the Bengals’ first three drives today.
Three possessions, three touchdowns for the Bengals. This time, it’s a 32-yard strike from Joe Burrow to Ja’Marr Chase. 21-0 Bengals one play into the second quarter. The Falcons are feeling A.J. Terrell’s exit with a hamstring injury in a big way.
*chef’s kiss* 🤌#ATLvsCIN | 📺 FOX pic.twitter.com/9UhTUm7DvO
Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota looked like he had tight end Kyle Pitts open on third-and-three, but his pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage, causing it to harmlessly fall to the ground. A quick three-and-out for Atlanta, who trails 14-0 with 3:15 left in the first. Joe Burrow and Co will take the field for their third possession of the game.
Falcons cornerback A.J. Terrell has been officially ruled out of today’s game with a hamstring injury, a huge blow to the Atlanta pass defense. This game has the potential to get away from Atlanta in a hurry.
Joe Mixon stumbles into the end zone for a one-yard score, just his second rushing touchdown of the season for the NFL’s third-leading rusher from a year ago. Two drives, two touchdowns for Cincinnati. 14-0 Bengals with 4:51 remaining in the opening quarter.
Big blow for the Falcons’ pass defense as their top corner A.J. Terrell limps off the field. He dealt with a thing/hamstring a week ago against the 49ers, and it seems like his leg is once again bothering him today. Already without cornerback Casey Hayward today, the Atlanta secondary is susceptible to more big plays from Burrow today.
The Falcons are able to pick one first down on the legs of quarterback Marcus Mariota and Tyler Allgeier, but after gaining a combined five yards on the next series, they’re forced to punt. 7-0 Bengals just about five minutes into the game.
Only four plays into the action, Joe Burrow goes DEEP, hitting ol’ reliable, Tyler Boyd, down the middle of the field for a 60-yard touchdown. Burrow connects with Boyd for their 11th touchdown together. That’s only one fewer than his 12 to Tee Higgins, the second-most of any receiver in Burrow’s career.
THAT’S how you start a football game.#ATLvsCIN | 📺 FOX pic.twitter.com/2Zgb01VCeg
The Falcons have been of the best rushing offenses in the NFL this season, ranking third in rushing yards per game (165.2). Meanwhile, Bengals running back Joe Mixon, whose 1,205 rushing yards were the third-most by any player a year ago, is off to a slow start in 2022, averaging 3.3 yards per carry, the third-fewest among 51 qualified ball-carriers this season.
Falcons Rushing Offense
Rush Att/GM 33.7 2nd
Rush YPG 165.2 3rd
Rush TD 8 T-3rd
Fewest Yards/Carry This Season
Cam Akers 2.96
Najee Harris 3.2
Joe Mixon 3.3
Antonio Gibson 3.5
Ja’Marr Chase is on milestone watch in Week 7 since his 1,930 receiving yards in 23 career games puts him in position to tie LSU teammate Justin Jefferson and former Miami Dolphin Mark Duper for the second-fewest games (24) to 2,000 career receiving yards since the 1970 AFL/NFL merger. Fellow LSU alum Odell Beckham Jr. holds the record since 1970, only needing 21 games to hit 2,000 career receiving yards.
Fewest Games to Reach 2,000 Career Receiving Yards
Since 1970 Merger
Odell Beckham Jr 21
Justin Jefferson 24
Mark Duper 24
Victor Cruz 25
Jerry Rice 25
>> Ja’Marr Chase: 1,930 rec yards in 23 career games
Quarterback Joe Burrow has been at the center of the Bengals’ turnaround, earning the third-highest passer rating in NFL since Week 3 during the team’s 3-1 stretch. A huge factor in Burrow’s play is that he is no longer being pummeled week after week: He has only been sacked eight times in the last four games after being taken down a league-high 13 times in the first two games.
Joe Burrow This Season
Weeks 1-2 Weeks 3-6
W-L 0-2 3-1
Yds/att 6.0 8.3
TD-INT 3-4 9-1
Sacks/Game 6.5 2.0
Passer Rtg 73.1 110.0 <<
>> 3rd-best passer rating in NFL in span (29th in Weeks 1-2)
Falcons cornerback A.J. Terrell has taken a step back in coverage this season, sitting at 50.3 PFF coverage grade this season after registering an 85.6 grade last season, which was the second-highest in the NFL. That’s bad news for Atlanta as Terrell will face college nemesis Ja’Marr Chase, who totaled nine receptions, 221 receiving yards, and two receiving touchdowns against him in 2020 CFP National Championship, a 42-25 LSU victory.
A.J. Terrell PFF Coverage Grade
Grade 85.6 50.3
CB Rank 2nd 68th
>> Ja’Marr Chase: 221 rec yards in 2020 CFP National Championship against Terrell
The Falcons will have their first above .500 record since 2017 with a win on Sunday against the Bengals. The 2017 season was when their last playoff appearance occurred. They have lost 11 straight games when entering exactly .500 (1 shy of matching 2006-2012 Rams for longest streak since 1970 merger).
The Atlanta Falcons are the only team remaining that is undefeated against the spread (6-0) this season. They have not lost a game by seven or more points this season and are looking to become 7th team since 1970 ALF/NFL merger to start season 7-0 ATS or better.
🔒 in#ATLvsCIN || #DirtyBirds pic.twitter.com/YmAb1wHFZP
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