Joe Burrow shook off a lingering calf injury, throwing for 259 yards as the Cincinnati Bengals beat the Los Angeles Rams 19-16 on Monday night to get their first win after starting the season with two losses.
Joe Mixon’s 14-yard touchdown run in the third quarter gave the reigning AFC North champs their first lead of the season. Meanwhile, Logan Wilson picked off Los Angeles quarterback Matthew Stafford twice and the Bengals sacked him six times.
Stafford threw a one-yard scoring pass to Tutu Atwell with just over a minute left in the game, and the PAT got the Rams to within three points, but Mitchell Wilcox fell on the ensuing onside kick to seal the win for the Bengals (1-2).
Burrow seemed to get better as the game went on and completed passes to nine different receivers.
It wasn’t clear until just before the game whether Burrow would play. The star quarterback has been dealing with a calf injury but was a full participant in warmups without any obvious discomfort and went out for the Bengals’ first offensive series. The injury occurred early in training camp, and he aggravated it late in the Bengals’ loss to Baltimore last week. Burrow returned to practice on Thursday on a limited basis, and on Saturday the team listed him as questionable.
Asked after the game about his recovery from the injury, Burrow said: “We’re getting there, every week will be better. We’re going to keep working hard to get healthy.”
He added that he didn’t feel like he had aggravated the injury during the game: “Today we got through it.”
Cincinnati’s Ja’Marr Chase had 12 catches for 141 yards, including a 43-yarder during a third-quarter drive that led to the third of four field goals in the game by Evan McPherson.
“[Chase] was great,” said Burrow. “I came into tonight thinking I was going to feed my guy and he came up big for us.”
The Cincinnati defense was outstanding. Stafford was sacked twice by defensive end Trey Hendrickson, and Wilson intercepted him once in each half. Stafford finished 18 for 39 for 269 yards as the Rams slipped to 1-2.
In Monday’s other game, Jalen Hurts threw for a touchdown, ran for another and led the Eagles on a game-ending drive that lasted more than nine minutes as Philadelphia remained unbeaten with a 25-11 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The defending NFC champions, who won their first eight games a year ago, are off to a 3-0 start in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1992-93.
Hurts improved to 20-1 over his last 21 regular-season games. He tossed a 34-yard TD pass to Olamide Zaccheaus that helped Philly build a 13-3 halftime lead, and his one-yard scoring run gave the Eagles a 17-point advantage early in the second half.
The Eagles led 25-3 by the time the Bucs finally got into the end zone on Baker Mayfield’s one-yard TD throw to Mike Evans. A two-point conversion trimmed Philadelphia’s lead to 14 with 9:22 remaining, but Hurts and the Eagles never let Tampa Bay get the ball back.
Hurts was 4 of 5 passing and ran for a first down on that final drive.
The Bucs (2-1) lost for the first time with Mayfield at quarterback, turning the ball over twice after playing turnover-free against Minnesota and Chicago. The Bucs’ usually reliable defense struggled, too, yielding 201 yards rushing.
A week after rushing for a career-high 175 yards, D’Andre Swift ran for 130 yards on 16 attempts for Philadelphia. Hurts was 23 of 37 passing for 277 yards and two interceptions, while AJ Brown finished with nine receptions for 131 yards for the Eagles – one of just three NFL teams to remain unbeaten, along with Miami and San Francisco.
Mayfield completed 15 of 25 passes for 146 yards, one touchdown and an interception.