Joe Burrow has entered the MVP chat.
"He's one of the best quarterbacks in this league," wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase said, via ESPN. "Everybody knows that. He should be in the MVP race. If he's not in it, he should be. No. 1 quarterback in the race."
Burrow didn't put up gaudy passing numbers but was efficient all afternoon and made big throw after big throw in the massive victory. The QB was 25-of-31 passing (80.6 percent) for 286 yards, two touchdowns and a 126.6 passer rating. Burrow also added a career-high 11 rushes for 46 yards and a TD.
"He's playing at the level we need for him to lead us, to be confident that we can win every game we play," head coach Zac Taylor said, noting Burrow "absolutely" should be in the MVP conversation. "Whatever those conversations are like, there's no doubt as I've said before; I wouldn't trade him for anyone in the world."
Burrow displayed excellent pocket awareness Sunday, dipping out of trouble and either picking up yards with his legs or finding an open receiver. Burrow was sacked just one time in Week 13 win. He is now 8-1 in 2022 when sacked three or fewer times in a game.
"He has great size and elusiveness," Kansas City defensive end Frank Clark said, via ESPN. "People don't really put a lot of respect on his name when it comes to how elusive he is in the pocket and his pocket presence."
Burrow is the only QB to face Mahomes multiple times and be undefeated (3-0) in head-to-head matchups (including playoffs). Burrow joined Tom Brady (3-3) as the only QBs to defeat Mahomes at least three times. Burrow's 121.0 passer rating versus Mahomes is the best among 16 QBs to face him multiple times.
The QB brushed off any MVP chatter.
"It is what it is. I don't play the game for those kinds of accolades," Burrow said. "I play the game for those guys in the locker room. Whatever it takes from me every Sunday, that's what I'll do. If I have to hand the ball off 72 times and come out with a win, I'll be happy."
The 8-4 Bengals have won four straight to solidify their playoff standing and tie the Baltimore Ravens' record atop the AFC North.