Here are Joe Burrow's rebound numbers heading into Sunday's game (1 p.m.-Cincinnati's Local 12) at Washington's FedEx Field:
A total of 39 passes, 25 completions and while he didn't have a touchdown and threw an interception, he completed 64 percent of his passes at eight yards per throw and led the Bengals to 27 points.
Those were Burrow's numbers in Indianapolis the week after the Bengals could manage just a last-minute field goal in Baltimore, a 183-yard effort that is considered the worst of his nine NFL starts. He had 189 yards at the half in Pittsburgh last week, but just 24 the rest of the way on five of 15 passing that sticks in his craw.
So Burrow sees another rebound game.
"I think we're going to have a good week of practice. We're going to be prepared," Burrow said Wednesday. "And we're going to go in there and I think we're going to play our game. We're not going to hang on what happened last week. Obviously everyone knows that we need to be better and that we have things to fix, but I think we're going to respond to the challenge."
Burrow explained his inaccurate passing on "lazy eyes," that failed to exploit coverages quickly enough and failure to step through his throwing motion into the wind.
"I think Joe has got incredibly high standards for himself. That's why you appreciate him," said head coach Zac Taylor. "He's not looking to point fingers or make excuses for anything. He's always going to put it on himself. That's what we need from our quarterback."
INJURY UPDATE: Just when it looked like the Bengals would get its starting offensive line back for the first time since Oct. 25, right guard Alex Redmond (bicep) didn't practice Thursday after being limited Wednesday. But after their starting tackles went full go together for the first time since Oct. 23, it looks like right tackle Bobby Hart (knee) and left tackle Jonah Williams (neck stringer) are going to be available to take on those trio of Washington sackers.
It looks like running back Joe Mixon (foot), who missed practice Thursday again, won't play for the fourth straight game. Also not working Thursday were starting wide receiver Tee Higgins (illness) and backup cornerback Tony Brown (foot).
They also got back two of their starting cornerbacks going full, slot cornerback Mackensie Alexander and LeShaun Sims after they've progressed in concussion protocol.
Defensive tackle Geno Atkins returned to the field for the first time since the birth of his second daughter last week in Atlanta and he went limited.
LAWSON ON TEAR: The Bengals face that formidable trio of sackers Sunday in end Montez Sweat (five sacks), franchise sacks leader Ryan Kerrigan (4.5) and overall No. 2 pick Chase Young (3.5) leading a team that is second in the NFL's sack per pass.
But it is Bengals edge rusher Carl Lawson leading the NFL with 13 quarterback knock downs, according to profootballreference.com. He had six hits on Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh last Sunday, a frustrating day the Bengals had no sacks in the fifth straight game they have had either no sacks or one. The Bengals are 28th in sacks per pass, but with Lawson they are knocking on the door.
"You're getting consistent play from him. Over the last two to three weeks in particular, he's really been a well-rounded player," Taylor said. "He's helping us in the run game and the pass game. We need him. We need those guys to show up. We need some of those hits to turn into sacks, obviously, but that's the whole unit in its entirety. You know the coverage has to hold up to give him a little bit more time. He's approached things the right way."
Lawson has two more QB knockdowns than the Steelers' T.J. Watt and Giants' Leonard Williams.
BUCKEYE BLITZ: Hate to barge in on this Ohio State reunion, but Chase Young had some nice things to say Thursday about two of his former Ohio State teammates, Burrow and Bengals defensive end Sam Hubbard, one of his off-season workout partners.
"Super Bowl Sam, that' my guy," Young said in his media availability in Washington. "Sam is a guy I looked up to on and off the field. I know Sam is going to bring it.
"Joe was a real leader. He led by example. He was always composed in everything he did. He's definitely a guy you want leading your team. I feel like he's proven that this year."
HAKEEM READY: After making his first NFL start at left tackle Nov. 1 against Tennessee, rookie Hakeem Adeni worked at right tackle all next week in case Jonah Williams could return and with Bobby Hart still out. Williams couldn't and Adeniji offered his second straight solid effort at left tackle against the Steelers. Now with Williams and Hart back practicing full go, Adeniji gave a very grown-up answer Thursday to what lies ahead for him.
"I haven't even thought about 2021. Hopefully we make it out of 2020," Adeniji said. "It's been a crazy year. Like I said, it's preparing each week, and as long as you take those steps daily and meet those goals, then the bigger picture stuff will take care of itself. You can't get lost in thinking about that or else you're going to fall short. We have a great team to play this week, and that's what all the focus needs to be on. "
FALSE SECURITY: You would think the year there's either none or next to none in the stands would be a year a team would have few false starts. But the Bengals lead the NFL with 20.
"Coach Taylor kind of talked about it earlier this week," said veteran running back Giovani Bernard before Thursday's practice. "Obviously that's a … concentration-type thing. So we just have to have everybody locked in every snap because those are big, crucial things. There's no excuse for that. For the most part, most stadiums don't have fans or very minimal fans are out there. So hearing the snap count is not about, 'Oh, I couldn't hear this.' It's more of a focus thing. Including myself. I have to focus better."
VIRTUAL REALITY: Bernard, a Bengals captain, is pretty bothered by 2020, just like everyone else. What he misses the most is the daily camaraderie with his teammates and with the NFL extending intensive COVID protocols for the rest of the season, that's pretty much done.
They do practice together, but they can't meet together or linger in player spaces. They are together only to walk through and practice and Bernard admits that has made it difficult for a young, overhauled team to bond and jell.
"We have to find different ways to be able to connect with one another. That's the thing about football. A lot of the teams that win the Super Bowl aren't the best teams," Bernard said. "They don't have the best records. They're the ones that get hot at the right time. The way to get hot at the right time is to have that bond and to have that family type feeling. With a bunch of new guys, it's been tough with that.
"What I'm hoping for is because this year has been tough on a lot of players, it motivates us, it motivates each person to come back even stronger next year, or whatever it may be. Even next week, to have that fire to do better or whatever it may be to help this team win because that's what we need right now. Just need a little bit of motivation and confidence to continue to keep going and growing together as a team."
Bernard tried to show how a virtual meeting just isn't the same and how preparation is more important than ever. 2020 isn't exactly a season tailored for a team like the Bengals that is riding the play of young players on offense and new players on defense.
"Coach Taylor has always done a really good job installing that game plan for the week. A lot of times, he'll say, 'Give me the first offense up here and we'll run through those plays we just installed.' We'll have different situations and ask certain questions," Bernard said. "Right now, it's a very hard situation to be able to say, 'Hey, give me the first offense up and each person go through what you have.' We've done that. But just that physical, being present thing that is lacking. That's tough. Every team is going through the same thing now, and there's no excuses. The thing is this year is whoever is the most prepared and the most understanding and being able to change things up is the team that succeeds. We're continuing to work and grow in that area."