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Kansas City Chiefs’ defensive coordinator: Joe Burrow has six eyes around his head

Joe Burrow
Sam Greene/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

There’s no question that Joe Burrow is already one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL today. Despite still being just 26 years old and in his third season, the Iowa native has already taken his team to two AFC Championship games and one Super Bowl.

Yet, Burrow’s biggest detractors are quick to point to how often the former LSU star has gotten sacked in his young career. He’s been sacked a total of 124 times in 42 regular season games, an average of nearly three per game. On average, Burrow has been sacked on 7.5% of his dropbacks.

It’s certainly a concern, but obviously, the Cincinnati Bengals’ offensive line is also partially to blame, as they have had several injuries, including to starting left tackle Jonah Williams.

Now, as the Bengals prepare to take on the Kansas City Chiefs for the second time in the AFC Conference Championship, many might be curious to learn Burrow has actually done fairly well against the top seed in the AFC.

Related: Cincinnati Bengals’ Joe Burrow has intriguing take ahead of AFC Championship Game

Kansas City Chiefs don’t have the recipe to slow down Joe Burrow

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Cincinnati Bengals
Sam Greene-USA TODAY Sports

In Week 12, Burrow was sacked just once while completing 80% of his passes for 286 yards and two touchdowns in a three-point victory over the Chiefs. In last year’s playoff matchup, Burrow was also sacked just once while throwing for 250 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception in yet another three-point win.

In other words, the Chiefs haven’t had nearly the same success when it comes to sacking Burrow. Why is that?

Kansas City defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo believes he knows why. He says it’s thanks to Burrow’s incredible pocket awareness, but we’ll let his words tell the story.

“Yeah, when you watch him, he just is — the word I come up with is nifty,” Spagnuolo said in his Thursday press conference. “He never panics in the pocket. It feels like he’s got like six eyeballs around his head. Seriously.”

Kansas City Chiefs DC Steve Spagnuolo on defending Joe Burrow (H/T to Pro Football Talk)

Six eyeballs around his head? That’s a new one. This quote is one you’d expect to hear about Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers, you know, two of the NFL’s most experienced QBs. Instead, we’re hearing it about a third-year pro. But, as coach Spags said, Burrow is ‘elite.’

In a matchup that’s sure to feature plenty of fireworks between Patrick Mahomes and Burrow, seeing how much pressure Kansas City manages to get on Burrow could just be the deciding factor. Based on their earlier efforts, the Chiefs may need to get creative to gain the advantage, at least in the trenches.