In his third NFL season, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow has become a pure ninja on the field. Burrow has the arm, accuracy, timing, and sense of play rhythm you could ever want from any quarterback, but if there’s one thing that sets him apart and puts him firmly in the modern quarterback pantheon, it’s his lethal combination of patience in waiting for routes to develop, and decisiveness when it’s time to turn the ball loose. Burrow sees the entire field, and he’s well aware of the development of all the routes in the progression.
We saw this once again on Burrow’s 14-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Boyd in the opening drive of Cincinnati’s Monday night game against the Buffalo Bills. On this play, Burrow had to wait for Ja’Marr Chase to clear the middle of the field with the crossing route from the slot, and then he could hit Boyd outside on the slant.
A lot of quarterbacks would get gummed up waiting for this progression to work itself out, either by hurrying the throw, or by missing the timing late, and failing to throw his receiver open. But Burrow put this ball perfectly to Boyd where only he could catch it, and cornerback Tre’Davious White was just behind.
This was Burrow’s 35th touchdown pass of the season, and it was yet another example of why and how the combination of patience and a quick trigger mark the best quarterbacks — and separate them from those who have not yet gamed that particular combination of skills.