Kyle Shanahan

Why Kyle Shanahan sees shades of John Elway in Bengals QB Joe Burrow

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On the heels of a two-game losing streak, the 49ers face the daunting task of corralling an always-dangerous Cincinnati Bengals offense led by star quarterback Joe Burrow.

During an interview with Greg Papa on NBC Sports Bay Area's "49ers Game Plan," coach Kyle Shanahan shared immense praise for Burrow and the big-play threat that Cincinnati's offense presents.

"One of the best, that's why he went first in the draft," Shanahan said. "It's his throwing with his size, too. He's a guy who can sit in there, hold on to the ball for a while, and really let plays develop and get the ball downfield with no room. And he's got the best receivers for that, so you can't ever go to sleep on him. There are times where he's not going to pick you apart because he's going to look for that big play. You can stop him a couple drives in a row, and then just like that, it's just explosives left after right."

Shanahan then explained that Burrow's ability to devastate defenses with chunk plays reminds him of a Hall of Fame quarterback who often is mentioned among the greatest players ever to play the position.

"Reminds me of [John] Elway in that manner," Shanahan said. "It's different than last week, where they're just totally taking what they give you. Sometimes he'll do that, you can see it in games, but a lot of times he is going to sit there and wait for the big one, and that's why you can never go to sleep on their offense."

Burrow was a handful for the 49ers' defense when these teams last faced off in 2021, throwing for 348 yards and two touchdowns in an overtime thriller won by San Francisco.

After finishing top 10 in total yards and points scored during the 2022 NFL season, the Bengals' offense has seen a steep decline in production through six games.

Cincinnati has been among the most anemic offenses in the NFL this year, with their 256.3 yards per game ranking dead-last in the league, while their 16.7 points per game ranks 28th.

Despite their sluggish start to the season, Shanahan has made it clear that the 49ers will not be overlooking the potential Cincinnati's offense has to light up the scoreboard at a moment's notice.

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