What is going on with Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals in 2023?

Joe Burrow is having an awful season thus far and the Cincinnati Bengals are 1-3 on the season. What is going on?
Cincinnati Bengals v Tennessee Titans
Cincinnati Bengals v Tennessee Titans / Wesley Hitt/GettyImages

Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals look like one of the worst teams in the NFL this year. What is the root of the issue with this team thus far? The Bengals one again began the season 0-2, but their losing doesn't seem to be something that they can overcome like they did in 2021 and 2022. There appears to be a deep issue with this team, and perhaps Joe Burrow is the primary reason for their struggles.

On the season, Burrow has been shockingly inefficient. He's completed less than 60% of his passes and has thrown just two touchdowns on two interceptions. His passer rating is 69.1, which ranks last in the NFL among QBs with at least 100 passing attempts. He hasn't just been bad, but truly awful. Sure, I bet his calf is severely hampering his ability to really do much more than take snaps out of the shotgun, but Burrow had established himself as one of the most efficient passers in the NFL over the last two years.

I also think there is something to say with Zac Taylor, who never really felt like a solid NFL coach. Sure, he's won 22 regular season games in 2021 and 2022, but I think Taylor has constantly been propped up by a solid roster, which seems to be crumbling in 2023. A team that was likely projected to appear in the AFC Championship Game by many now looks like a team that may pick in the top 10 in the 2024 NFL Draft.

The defense has even taken a step back in 2023. In 2022, the defense ranked 7th in the NFL in points allowed. Well, that ranking has dropped to 18th in the NFL, and the scoring offense ranks 31st, scoring just 12.3 points per game. Where do they go from here? Well, they get to play the Arizona Cardinals in Week 5, who have honestly looked better than Cincy. After that, they host the Seahawks and will then have their bye week.

I don't see more than a 1-1 stretch over the next two weeks for the Bengals. Going into an early bye week at 2-4 would be a pretty tough spot to be in, especially considering their first two games after the bye are against the 49ers and Bills. The Bengals might have dug themselves too deep of a hole.