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Bengals thrash Ravens in 41-17 win, take hold of AFC North lead

C.J. Uzomah contributed two touchdowns in the winning effort against the Ravens.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals stunned the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium, winning by a whopping 41-17. Not only did the Bengals defeat the Ravens, but they won by their largest margin of the season.

The win snapped Cincinnati’s five-game losing streak against Baltimore, and they ended up with the most points they’ve ever scored in Baltimore. The only time the Bengals put up more points against the Ravens was when they scored 44 at home in 2005. The Bengals had only scored 36 points against the Ravens in their four previous meetings.

Joe Burrow had a career game, passing for 416 yards and three touchdowns against a Ravens defense that gave him fits last season. But Burrow wasn’t the only LSU Tiger to have a career game, as Ja’Marr Chase continued his historic rookie campaign. Chase caught eight passes for his first 200-yard game of his young career.

Though the Bengals’ leading scorer in this game was not Chase, but C.J. Uzomah. The Bengals’ tight end had only three catches, but gained 91 yards and caught two touchdowns on National Tight End day.

Most importantly, the Bengals took down the division leaders, and claimed first place for themselves. The Bengals are now the only team in the AFC North who are undefeated in division play (excluding the Browns, who have not played a divisional foe yet).

The Bengals’ offense had their hands full with the Ravens’ defensive pressures, but they still found ways to move the chains. The Ravens let the Bengals into plus territory, but stopped them before they could get too close. This led to an Evan McPherson 52-yard field goal to open the scoring with 5:08 remaining in the first period. The Bengals took a rare first-quarter lead, up 3-0 against the Ravens.

The Ravens’ offense had trouble getting started with the Bengals keeping him inside the pocket. Mark Andrews finally shook loose, and as Jackson’s safety valve had 47 receiving yards and got the Ravens into the best field position they had all day. Jackson went to him on third down from the 27-yard line, but couldn’t connect. Justin Tucker came in for the 45-yard field goal with 14:03 to go in the second quarter to tie the game at 3-3.

The Bengals went 11 quarters without scoring a touchdown against the Ravens, but ended the skid midway through the second quarter. Burrow moved around the pocket and uncorked a deep pass to C.J. Uzomah, which went for a 55-yard touchdown. It was the longest reception of Uzomah’s career, and it was good to give the Bengals a 10-3 lead after the extra point, with 6:29 left in the half.

The Ravens passing attack finally came alive, with Marquise Brown and Rashod Bateman combining for 44 yards on the next drive. The Bengals had been doing a good job of containing Jackson until that point, but Jackson took an option down to the three-yard line. Devonta Freeman ran the ball in from the short distance to tie the game at 10-10 with 1:51 remaining in the half.

The Bengals got the ball back inside the two-minute warning, which means Burrow was throwing to Chase. The rookie receiver had three catches for 45 yards, but the Bengals ran out of time before they could get into the end zone, so they called on McPherson for a 30-yard attempt. The kick was good, and the Bengals took a 13-10 lead into the locker room for halftime.

In the first half, the Bengals played with a lot of three linebacker formations to help stop the Ravens’ dynamic running offense. It looked like Marvin Lewis was calling the plays on defense again. But it worked, and it kept the Ravens to only 10 points in the half.

The Bengals’ offense expected blitzes from the Ravens, and the Ravens delivered. To help protect Burrow, the Bengals would put a running back and a tight end in the backfield. While it kept Burrow from taking any sacks, it took away Burrow’s options in the passing game, slowed down. The Bengals targeted Tee Higgins 11 times, by far the most of any Bengals receiver in the half. But Higgins had a rough time against Anthony Averett, who got away with some borderline contact on several plays.

The Ravens struck quickly, and Jackson connected with Brown for a 39-yard deep ball at the back of the end zone. After Tucker’s extra point, the Ravens had their first lead of the game, now leading 17-13 with 13:20 remaining in the third quarter.

The Bengals were quick to answer. Burrow went back to Chase and connected for 38 yards on the next drive. The Bengals got another deep touchdown to Uzomah, who forced a missed tackle on the way for the score after the Ravens lost him in zone coverage. With the extra point, the Bengals took the lead again, up 20-17 with 11:06 to go in the third quarter.

This was Burrow’s seventh game with two or more touchdown passes this season, which passed Carson Palmer for the most consecutive games with multiple touchdown passes in franchise history.

Chase got the ball again and ended his one-game touchdown drought. The Bengals were one for seven on third down conversions, so Burrow threw to Chase to help change their third down fortunes. Not only did Chase convert, but he spun out of a tackle and ran down the field for a whopping 82-yard touchdown. With the extra point, the Bengals had a 27-17 lead with 5:48 left in the quarter.

The Ravens turned the ball over on downs, and the Bengals got the ball in plus territory. Even though the Ravens had stifled the Bengals’ running game, Mixon broke out for 31 yards on that drive. He only had 25 yards in the game leading up to that drive, but had a 21-yard touchdown with 9:24 to go in the game, putting the Bengals ahead 34-17. The Bengals had 21 unanswered points in what was turning out to be a lopsided game.

The Ravens turned the ball over on downs again, after two false start penalties backed them up to a fourth-and-fifteen. With 6:59 remaining in the game, Samaje Perine took the ball to the house on a 46-yard run to extend the Bengals’ lead to 41-17.

After that, both teams inserted their backup quarterback and traded possessions.

With the win, the Bengals improved to 5-2, going 2-0 in the division. Now in first place, the Bengals won their two toughest divisional games on the schedule: at Pittsburgh, and at Baltimore.

Now atop the AFC North, the Bengals head to New Jersey next week to take on the Jets, who will probably be starting Mike White at quarterback.