Wow. This game was close for the better part of three quarters, but the Cincinnati Bengals played one of their best games in recent memory, as they beat the Baltimore Ravens soundly on their division rival’s home turf.
Here are the winners from this week’s big win by the now 5-2 Bengals.
It was a rough start for the second-year quarterback, but as he hit a rhythm, he looked like a 10-year pro. He hit multiple receivers and wisely kept going to the hot hands of Ja’Marr Chase and C.J. Uzomah.
It was just a matter of time before the Ravens were going to start making plays on offense, but Burrow kept going toe-to-toe with Lamar Jackson—particularly in the second half. It was his seventh consecutive game where he threw multiple touchdown passes, tying a franchise record with Carson Palmer. He had over 400 yards passing before the fourth quarter.
No. 1 might not only be one of the best draft picks by the Cincinnati Bengals in recent memory, but really by any team of late. Like Burrow, he started slow, but then picked it up at important times.
He had critical plays before halftime to set up a big field goal, and then had a Baltimore back-breaker in the third quarter. Burrow hit Chase on a slant, wherein he took it 82 yards to the end zone while breaking three tackles. Chase had over 200 yards receiving before the fourth quarter even began.
Early in the game, the big-ticket free agent was seen driving Alejandro Villanueva back into Jackson, though it didn’t result in a big play for the defense. He kept at it and pressured Jackson often, eventually sacking him. The team forced double-digit plays for negative yards on the day.
The rookie kicker had a nice game with two huge first half field goals. The one before halftime played perfectly into the successful formula the Bengals have used to be a winning team, while he hit another for the first score of the contest. He also added five extra points for good measure.
The Bengals’ defense largely did what they needed against Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. In the first half, the Bengals had three sacks, four quarterback hits and five tackles for loss.
In the second half, Anarumo’s unit forced two stops on fourth down to help seal the win. One was particularly huge, as it came after Burrow’s red zone interception, negating any kind of comeback from Baltimore.
While Hubbard, Hendrickson and the secondary’s performance took center stage, another big free agency signing quietly shined on Sunday. Ogunjobi had 1.5 sacks and six total tackles and did admirable work watching for Jackson stepping up in the pocket and shedding blocks to help contain him.
What a day for No. 87 on “National Tight Ends Day”. Early in the game, he quietly picked up an important block that would have nailed Burrow, but it was the biggie in the second quarter that made waves.
Burrow used play-action and danced in the pocket to deliver a dime to Uzomah for an early-game lead. He had a huge 55-yard touchdown to change the complexion of the game in the first half. Then, in the third quarter, Uzomah struck again with a 32-yard strike for another score—his fifth of the year.
Like Hendrickson, Hubbard was everywhere on Sunday. He harassed Jackson to the tune of 2.5 sacks and nearly had another midway through the fourth quarter. He was part of a tremendous effort by the defensive line and the unit altogether.
The duo of Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon
Cincinnati had trouble running the ball throughout most of the game, but when they needed to make a statement and take control of things, these two stepped up. On their own, the stats weren’t super-impressive.
But, two physical touchdown runs and some timely first downs from these two were big in controlling this game later in the second half. And, in some ways, this is how you want to win games in today’s NFL: Pass with great success early and then pound the run game later to grind clock and take a stranglehold on the contest.
A lot was made of Wilson’s comments on Jackson last Sunday, as the media attemtped to create a storyline that wasn’t actually there. Wilson and the defense stepped up huge, containing Jackson, as No. 55 had seven total tackles—one of which was for loss. He played well, but not having to hear more about those “comments” after a loss has to be refreshing.
It started sluggish and there were some questionable play calls in the first quarter, but this was a statement win by Taylor and the Bengals. He has now beaten all AFC North teams and the 41 points scored today by Cincinnati were the most ever by any Bengals team in Baltimore.
If Cincinnati was to be believed as a “for real” team, these are the types of games they need to win and in the margins shown today. Oh, and Cincinnati had just one penalty on the day.
Against the Steelers and Ravens on their respective home turfs, the Bengals have outscored both of those teams by a combined 38 points (14 vs Pittsburgh, 24 vs Baltimore) this year.— Anthony Cosenza (@CJAnthonyCUI) October 24, 2021
Impressive and an incredible turnaround from the first two years under Zac Taylor.
As it went with our “Good, bad and ugly” from last week, we couldn’t really pinpoint “losers” in this critical and decisive win. Was it perfect at times? No.
Burrow’s decision in the red zone in that situation was poor, while the run game didn’t get going until late in the contest. There was little gained out of the punt return game, aside from one 13-yarder, which continues to be an issue.
Also, early in the game, veteran edge rusher Justin Houston was having his way with Jonah Williams. He was constantly seen in the backfield and getting hits on Burrow.
But, as it went with many players on the team, they corrected many of their issues to cruise to a comfortable win. So, again, not to be a lazy journalist here, but calling out anyone in a game like this would be severe nitpicking.