Rest easy, Bengals fans. The Cincinnati offense is not broken.
Joe Burrow started Sunday on record pace and feasted on a hapless Atlanta Falcons pass defense en route to a 35-17 win. He ultimately fell short of Norm Van Brocklin's single-game passing record of 554 yards that remarkably still stands after being set in 1951. But a second-straight outburst from Cincinnati's passing game should settle any concerns of a Super Bowl hangover continuing to linger.
Burrow exploded for 196 passing yards in the first quarter as Cincinnati opened up a 14-0 lead. His first touchdown of the day was a 60-yard pass to Tyler Boyd.
He started the second quarter where he left off, this time with a sideline strike to Ja'Marr Chase. The second-year receiver did the legwork after hauling in the pass at Atlanta's 27-yard line, juking Falcons cornerback Darren Hall and sprinting into the end zone untouched for a 41-yard score.
When the game was done, Burrow had completed 34 of 42 passes for 481 yards with three touchdowns and no turnovers. He added 20 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Four Bengals receivers snagged at least five catches as Boyd led the way with eight for 155 yards and the score. Chase, who'd been held to four-straight games below 100 yards, posted his second-straight with 100-plus yard and two touchdowns as he hauled in eight catches for 130 yards and two scores.
For Burrow, the effort was his second-straight with 300-plus passing yards and three touchdowns. And this looks like the offense that led Cincinnati to an unexpected Super Bowl run last season.
There were signs for concern when Burrow threw four interceptions in a Week 1 loss to the Steelers. Burrow and Chase then failed to find the chemistry that sparked last season's offense as the Bengals got off to a 2-3 start. But now the Bengals are 4-3, which will be good for no worse than a first-place tie in the AFC North through Week 7.
All is not perfect in Cincinnati. Offensive line concerns that have carried over from last season despite an offseason makeover were still evident as Burrow took three sacks on Sunday. Joe Mixon continued to struggle to find running room while averaging 3.4 yard per carry on a 54-yard day. But the explosiveness that defined the Bengals last season is back.