Joe Burrow knows the Cincinnati Bengals can play better.
"It's only two weeks, obviously not where we want to be at and nowhere near our standard, but we've got 15 weeks of football left," he said during a discussion on The Colin Cowherd Podcast. "A lot of football to be played."
Cincinnati seemed primed to be one of the best teams in the NFL this season. After all, it was coming off a Super Bowl appearance and had many of the same key contributors back, including Burrow, Ja'Marr Chase, Joe Mixon and Tee Higgins.
However, the team is 0-2 through two games with an overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers and a three-point loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
The biggest issue has been the lack of protection for Burrow, as he was sacked seven times in the loss to the Steelers and six times in the loss to the Cowboys. Starting the season against T.J. Watt and Micah Parsons isn't exactly easy for a new-look offensive line, and it showed in those first two contests.
"I wouldn't say he was better in person because I saw him on film and knew exactly what he was going to be," Burrow said of Parsons. "He's an unbelievably big, strong and fast player. It's not one dimension; there's a lot of good pass-rushers in this league, but not a lot of guys like him. ... They can just move him around and do a lot of different things with him because he's so versatile."
From Cincinnati's perspective, Burrow said the team's slow starts both on individual possessions and the games at large have contributed to the sack issues.
Whether it is starting a drive on 1st-and-15 because of a penalty or being forced into throwing situations because of a deficit on the scoreboard, the Bengals have allowed their opponents to key in on the pass rush in obvious throwing situations.
To their credit, they overcame double-digit deficits in both games once they recovered from those slow starts.
The comebacks fell short by three points, but Cincinnati could easily be 2-0 instead of 0-2 if it wasn't for the beginning of games. It will look to turn things around in Week 3 against the New York Jets, who are coming off their own comeback against the Cleveland Browns.
Fortunately for Burrow and Co., they know they can bounce back from back-to-back losses. After all, it was just last season that they overcame a 2-4 stretch that included two different sets of back-to-back losses just to reach the Super Bowl when they started playing to their standard.
Burrow knows that standard is still there, but they haven't reached it yet in 2022.