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Bengals Notebook: Burrow Looking To Add Win Over Cleveland To Mushrooming Milestones

Joe Burrow fires one in Thursday's practice.
Joe Burrow fires one in Thursday's practice.

When the kids are dressing up as Joe Burrow for Halloween as he tries to scare the daylights out of the Browns Monday night in Cleveland (8:15-Cincinnati's Channel 9 and ESPN), there are a few more stat treats for the bag.

As in, he's on the verge of becoming the second fastest passer in NFL history to 10,000 yards.

But as he approaches more milestones, Burrow may not have his Pro Bowl wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase for some of that assault on the records books. Reports surfaced after Thursday's practice that Chase's hip injury may have him sidelined for four to six weeks.

The reports say that Chase, who was limited last week until he went full last Friday, requires only rest and not surgery. The Bengals have two more games until their Nov. 13 bye week as they reportedly mull a stint on injured reserve. Chase has been as hot as Burrow with 15 catches for 162 yards and four touchdowns in the last two games, including the winner in New Orleans with 1:57 left on a 60-yard touchdown.

Barring a run at Norm van Brocklin's all-time NFL record of 554 passing yards in a game Monday night in his 34th start, Burrow won't break Patrick Mahomes' record of fastest to 10,000 yards Monday night. Mahomes did it in 34 games and Burrow is 604 yards shy.

But since he is averaging 300 yards passing per game, he could reach 10,000 a week from Sunday at Paycor Stadium against the Panthers in his 35th start. According to Elias, that would tie him with Justin Herbert for second place and put him one ahead Kurt Warner, two ahead of Matthew Stafford and three ahead of Andrew Luck for the fewest games to reach 10,000 yards passing.

That comes after a game he became the first player ever to have two games of combined 500 yards of offense while accounting for four touchdowns. He also passed Dan Marino with five 400-yard games in his first three seasons.

As expected, Seamless Joe is Joe Cool about it.

"You hear it, but it doesn't really affect how you go about your day-to-day business,' said Burrow of the blizzard of Hall-of-Famish firsts. "I'm proud of it. Something that means I've played well for the most part (in) the early part of my career. Hopefully I've got a long road ahead of me where those aren't the only things people are talking about."

One thing he wants them talking about is a win over Cleveland. He's 0-3 against the Browns.

"He certainly is looking to notch himself a win. You can feel it from him," said offensive coordinator Brian Callahan after Thursday's practice. "His intensity is ramped up and mainly because it's a big divisional game for us … These are the games that matter as you go down to the middle of the season in the stretch and you've got to pick up division wins and if you want to get to the playoffs, you've got to win your division and you have to beat the division teams. And we haven't done that yet. So I think he's on edge this week a little bit. He's ready to go."

WEATHER MAN: In the true Cincinnati tradition of being all over the weather, Burrow corrected a reporter before Thursday's practice about potential rain in Cleveland.

"Thirty percent chance of rain, I believe," said Burrow, before practice.

How rain could impact a Bengals offense that in the last three games has averaged 38 passes while the running backs have averaged 15 carries remains to be seen. The Bengals are getting it down field an average of 8.1 per pass in the last three games, but believe they can win in a variety of ways.

Because Burrow has. Counting the playoffs, he's 8-6-1 when he throw for at least 300 yards and 4-3 when he throws for fewer than 200.

"Every game you've got to take into account how the conditions are," Burrow said. "Everyone can talk about how that doesn't really affect the game. It does. If it's really windy or it's wet, it's going to affect your ability to throw the ball down the field, throw the ball in certain situations, and you've got to take care of the ball a lot better. But it affects both teams. Whoever handles those conditions is going to win the game."

For one of the few times, head coach Zac Taylor reluctantly referred to 2021 as he discussed the topic of varying styles.

"I think our guys definitely believe that. I hate to reference last year, but last year we had to do that at times," Taylor said. "There's times when you just need to grind it out and pick your poison in the pass game and when you want to utilize that. Again, that comes from a lot of different reasons. That comes from matchup problems with the rush. If you face teams where you've got an injury and that's a real strength for them, then you've got to play a certain way to find a team win. That changes every week, and those are the decisions we have to make."

RUN TALK: Even before the news about Chase broke, the Bengals were talking about the need to offset the Pro Bowl pass rush of Browns edge Myles Garrett, up to his old tricks with six sacks already this season, with the run game.

"That takes away some of their opportunities but they are still good against the run," Taylor said. "They are violent at the point of attack. They do a good job pursuing on the back side. They can impact your run game as well. Of course, what gets all the attention is all the pressure production and sack production. That's what stands out. It doesn't diminish the fact they are really good run down players as well."

And while the Browns other edge, Jadeveon Clowney, has just 1.5 sacks this season, he's a nine-year vet with 42.5 in his career as Burrow faces a fellow overall No. 1 pick. He had two sacks in last season's finale, when the Bengals didn't play their starters.

But the Browns have a new wrinkle with their rushers. Usually left tackle Jonah Williams gets Garrett while right tackle La'el Collins, who sat out Wednesday with his ankle injury from last Sunday, would get Clowney.

But now …

"Myles Garrett doesn't always line up there on the left any more. These last two weeks he's been on the right," Taylor said. "That's a change from every time I played them where it's consistently been inside or playing on the left. That's a big change for those guys in terms of how they're using him. That's going to be LC and Jonah and the other gets Jadeveon."

FLIP-FLOP ON CLOIN FLIP: Up until the third game of this season, Taylor was adamant. Win the coin toss and defer so you have the chance to double up at the end of the first half and start of the second half.

And why not? Just go back to last year at this time when they were 5-2 and it worked like clockwork. In three of the wins, they deferred, scored in the last minute of the first half and on the first drive of the second half in putting up at least 10 points in between for possessions for the other team.

But this year in the first two games when they won the coin flip and deferred, they started 0-2 when they didn't score a first-half touchdown and fell behind 7-0 in both.

So they took the ball when they won the flip against the Jets in week three, scored a touchdown on the first drive and haven't looked back. Now it doesn't matter since the other team defers. Since week three, the Bengals have scored seven touchdowns in the first 15:05 of games.

"There's a mentality factor when you prep the players for it," Callahan said. "No matter what happens, we're taking the ball and there's that fast start energy you're trying to manufacture to some degree that helps knowing going into the game that we're going take the ball and we're going to go."

Plus, they've got a defense that hasn't allowed a second half touchdown all year.

"That's a huge part," Callaghan said. "I think if we were struggling to stop people or we weren't great in the ending minutes of the half, then maybe we'd do something different to where we could try to take control of that a different way. But the way our defense has played, they've been fantastic. And that allows us to be a little more aggressive in that portion of the game and try to take the ball and go score."

INJURY UPDATE: Middle linebacker Logan Wilson (shoulder) worked full Thursday after missing last Sunday's game. Same with backup end Jeff Gunter (knee).

Along with Chase and Collins, edge Trey Hendrickson (neck), nose tackle Josh Tupou (calf) and wide receiver Stanley Morgan (hamstring) didn't work while tight end Hayden Hurst (groin/ankle) and cornerback Eli Apple (hamstring) were limited.

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