Joe Burrow‘s NFL debut ended in painful fashion.
Bengals kicker Randy Bullock was on to try a 31-yard field goal to tie the game as time ran out in the fourth quarter, but he pushed it far right while apparently pulling a muscle as he stepped into the kick. The miss meant the Chargers escaped with a 16-13 win.
They were down 13-6 as the fourth quarter got underway, but ran their way to a game-tying touchdown and then took the lead after a Joe Mixon fumble. Former Bengal and current Chargers linebacker Nick Vigil recovered the ball to set up Michael Badgley‘s third field goal of the afternoon.
The kick went in and the Chargers got a win on what was an up and down day offensively. Austin Ekeler and Joshua Kelley had 144 yards on 31 carries, but Tyrod Taylor was just 16-of-30 throwing the ball.
Burrow finished the day 23-of-36 for 193 yards and an interception. He also ran for a 23-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
Burrow’s touchdown run was by design and the team called a few other runs for him, but several of his eight carries came after he was flushed from the pocket. Pressure was an issue for much of the day as Burrow was sacked three times, hit six times and he threw his interception on an ill-advised attempt to avoid the pass rush by flipping the ball to Giovani Bernard.
That interception came with the Bengals down three and in field goal range in the fourth quarter, so the rookie will have to learn not to take such risks with potential points on the table. There was more to like about what happened after the pick.
Burrow completed 7-of-9 passes while working without any timeouts to take the Bengals from their 18-yard-line into scoring position in the final minute. Burrow spiked the ball to stop the clock with 18 seconds left to play in regulation and the Bengals on the 13-yard line before hitting Bernard for a 10-yard gain with 12 seconds left.
A try for A.J. Green in the end zone resulted in an offensive pass interference call, however, and the Bengals called on Randy Bullock to tie the game with seconds to play. Bullock missed and Burrow will have to wait at least one more week for his first NFL win.