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Quick Hits: Burrow's Winning Numbers Still MVP Good; Bengals Defense Turning It On And Over

Joe Burrow directed a gutty win in Tampa Bay Sunday.
Joe Burrow directed a gutty win in Tampa Bay Sunday.

The Bengals are coming off a win generated by the fewest yards (238) in a start by quarterback Joe Burrow, but wide receiver Tyler Boyd knows exactly how good he was in Sunday's 34-23 win over the Bucs in Tampa.

"I think they played every single defense you can call," said Boyd, who played one of the great grinder games in Bengals history with five catches, 35 yards and the go-ahead touchdown a week out of surgery for a dislocated finger.

"I saw lot of different coverages. I think they did a good job trying to disguise them. Just trying to manipulate him. That's the difference when you've got a guy like Joe who can easily figure out what they're trying do to him and still slice up the defense."

Burrow took what the Bucs gave him, which was the short stuff, and even though he had his lowest yards per attempt of the season (5.13), he killed them with efficiency, completing 69 percent of his 39 passes for 200 yards and a 104.6 passer rating, making the Bengals 8-0 this season when Burrow goes  triple digits, 18-4-1 in his career including playoffs.

(There's a lesson in there somewhere. The only time he had fewer yards passing (5.1), the Bengals also won a tough road game in Vegas last year.)

And, overall, Burrow still seems to be ahead of every other quarterback but Patrick Mahomes when it comes to the major categories. Mahomes still leads in touchdown passes and yards, where Burrow is fourth and second, respectively. For yards, he's also behind Justin Herbert and Tom Brady. He's second behind Geno Smith in completion percentage with that rock steady 68.2, which is also his career percentage. He's sixth in passer rating at 105, where it is Tua Tagovailoa, Smith, Mahomes, Jalen Hurts and Jimmy G, ahead of him.

Burrow is ahead of Buffalo's Josh Allen in all those numbers and is tied for fifth with him at 7.8 yards per pass in a category Tagovailoa leads at 8.6 ahead of Hurts' 8.2 …

SLANTS AND SCREEENS: They scored 31 points in the second half in Tampa and the last time they did that, it was still, somehow, a running game and defensive show. Quarterback Carson Palmer had a nice day on Nov. 28, 2004 against Cleveland at Paycor Stadium, overcoming three picks with four touchdowns and a passer rating of 101.4. But they needed running back Rudi Johnson's 202 yards (the Bengals' last 200-yard rusher) to drain the clock and cornerback Deltha O'Neal'31-yard pick-six in the final two minutes to seal that wild 58-48 win …

The Patriots are coming off their most egregious turnover in franchise history, but when the Bengals play them in Foxboro Saturday they face a New England team that historically is one of the best in the league at not turning it over. Same with Baltimore, the Bengals' foe in the Jan. 8 grand finale at Paycor. But this year the Bengals (14) have fewer than the Ravens (16) and the Pats (19) as Cincinnati tries to keep the turnovers coming in what remains the NFL's most decisive stat.

The Bengals defense is coming off its second four-turnover game of the season and in the Zac Taylor era. The great Bengals radio analyst Dave Lapham always considers a fourth-down stop a turnover, so go back to that botched Tampa Bay punt and that's five. The last time the Bengals defense did that was in a win over the Andy Reid Eagles on Dec. 13, 2012 on a Thursday night in Philly …

There's some heavy weather coming into Cincy, but there seems to be no change in plans yet for a Friday departure to New England for Saturday's 1 p.m. game ...